CBS Sunday Morning correspondent Mo Rocca’s podcast episode on three American forerunners who may have been forgotten centers upon three favorite topics: activism, baseball and movies.
The newest episode of Rocca’s podcast, Mobituaries, begins with the story of a New York woman who, over 100 years before individualist Rosa Parks refused to be persecuted based on her race on a Montgomery, Ala., bus, demanded justice after being forcibly thrown off a segregated streetcar in lower Manhattan.
In fact, I learned that the woman, a black schoolteacher named Elizabeth Jennings, sought legal aid from a future president of the United States to sue the rail company for breaking the law. What’s more, her father, an inventor and businessman, enlisted others by waging a crowdfunding campaign for his daughter.
Jennings, who had additionally been physically assaulted during the crime by both the streetcar’s conductor and a New York City policeman, focused on a fundamental legal challenge which led to integrated transportation in New York. Her lawyer, Chester Arthur, was an abolitionist. He became an American president.
I also learned about an Ohio historical marker honoring the first African-American major league ballplayer who is not Jackie Robinson. What in Toledo, Ohio, is now called Moses Fleetwood Walker Square is dedicated to the Negro catcher who broke the color barrier when the Toledo Blue Stockings briefly joined the majors in 1884. Rocca details Walker’s little-known story.