Below are brief descriptions of my upcoming book projects along with launch dates and links.
America's First Freedom Rider
In 1854, traveling was full of danger. Omnibus accidents were commonplace. Pedestrians were regularly attacked by the Five Points’ gangs. Rival police forces watched and argued over who should help. None of this was on Elizabeth Jennings’s mind as she climbed the platform onto the Chatham Street horsecar.
But her destination and that of the country took a sudden turn when the conductor told her to wait for the next car because it had “her people” in it. When she refused to leave the bus, she was assaulted by the conductor aided by a NYC policeman.
This is the story of what happened that day. It’s also the story of Jennings and Arthur’s families, the struggle for equality, and race relations. It’s the history of America at its most despicable and most exhilarating. Yet few historians know of Elizabeth Jennings or the impact she had on desegregating public transit.
"Here's a story every American should know. Cleanly and smartly, Jerry Mikorenda brings burgeoning 19th-century New York alive, laying bare the connections between his heroine's courageous stand and the long struggle for civil rights. America's First Freedom Rider is an impressive and inspiring weaving of our history and a timely reminder that one person can change the world."
-- Stewart O'Nan, author of The Circus Fire and Everyday People.
"Jerry Mikorenda brings to light the little-known story of civil rights champion Elizabeth Jennings, who broke racial barriers by integrating New York's transit system a century before Rosa Parks. This is an important addition to the city's complex history and one that should not be missed."
-- Lisa Keller, Professor of History, Purchase College SUNY & Executive Editor of the Encyclopedia of New York City (2nd Ed.).
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Lyons Press (January 1, 2020)
Product Dimensions: 6 x 9 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
COMING in SPRING 2021...
Australia 1910. Twelve-year-old SAVANNAH DAWSON lives with her widowed father CALEB on a whaling station in New South Wales with an unusual crew.
The Dawson’s have a pact – some say an unholy one – where killer whales help them hunt larger whales. Savannah believes the killer whales also hunted her older brothers, who died mysteriously eight years earlier while fishing. Haunted by their deaths, she wants to become a whaler to prove to her father that she can to fulfill the family legacy and avenge her brothers.
On her first hunt, the whale destroys Savannah’s boat. The legendary orca JUNGAY returns to rescue her. Savannah rides Jungay to safety and begins questioning everything she thought she knew about the orcas, her family and the revenge she seeks.