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Elizabeth Jennings
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    (March 1827-June 5, 1901)
    Born in New York
    Civil rights pioneer, teacher
    Plaintiff in the Jennings v. Third Ave Railroad court case (1855)
    Sued for her right to ride on an available New York City streetcar after being forcibly removed from a segregated car in 1854
    She has been largely overlooked and forgotten by historians.
    She grew up in relative luxury and privilege for the time period (her familial connections were the only reason her case gained as much traction as it did).
    Her win was a personal triumph but it would take a full decade for New York's public transit services to become fully desegregated (and a full century for racial segregation as a whole to be made illegal by Congress).
    She took a stand against segregation a century before Rosa Parks' historic arrest.
    She started New York City's first kindergarten for African-American children.
    Her father was Thomas Jennings, the first African-American holder of the patent, for developing a new method of dry-cleaning.
    She jumped back on the streetcar after initially being ejected by the conductor. This prompted the conductor to summon a policeman, who not only assisted in throwing her off, but also jabbed her with his billy club.
    Her case was handled by twenty-four year-old lawyerChester Arthur, future President of the United States.
    Her court case led to the eventual desegregation of New York City’s public transportation.
    Her one child died in infancy, and she was forced to bury him amidst the height of the New York Draft Riots.

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair

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