Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today. Malcolm X
Top Row : George Washington Carver, Zora Neale Hurston, Barack Obama, Martin Luther King, Booker T Washington
Botton Row : Carter G Woodson, Thurgood Marshall, WEB Dubois, Mary Mcleod Bethune, Langston Hughes, Frederick Douglass
Elizabeth Jennings Graham - “No!”
“Sarah E. Adams and myself walked down to the corner of Pearl and Chatham Sts. to take the Third-Av. cars. We got on the platform when the conductor told us to wait for the next car. I told him I could not wait, as I was in a hurry to go to church.
He then told me that the other car had my people in it, that it was appropriated for “my people.” I told him I had no people. I wished to go to church and I did not wish to be detained. He still kept driving me off the car; said he had as much time as I had and could wait just as long. I replied, “Very well, we’ll see.” He waited some minutes, when the driver becoming impatient, he said, “Well, you may go in, but remember, if the passengers raise any objections you shall go out, whether or no, or I’ll put you out.”
I told him I was a respectable person, born and raised in New York, did not know where he was born, and that he was a good-for-nothing impudent fellow for insulting decent person while on their way to church. He then said he would put me out. I told him not to lay hands on me. He took hold of me and I took hold of the window sash. He pulled me until he broke my grasp. I took hold of his coat and held onto that. He also broke my grasp from that. He then ordered the driver to fasten his horses and come and help him put me out of the cars. Both seized hold of me by the arms and pulled and dragged me down on the bottom of the platform, so that my feet hung one way and my head the other, nearly on the ground.
I screamed, “Murder,” with all my voice and my companion screamed out, “You will kill her. Don’t kill her.” I went again in the car and the conductor said, “You shall sweat for this.” Then told the driver to drive until he saw [a police] officer or a Station House. They get [a police] officer on the corner of Walker and Bower.
The officer without listening to anything I had to say thrust me out and then tauntingly told me to get redress if I could. This the conductor also told me. He wrote his name, Moss, and the car, No. 7, but I looked and saw No. 6 on the back of the car. After dragging me off the car, he drove me away like a dog, saying not to be talking there and raising a mob or fight.
When I told the conductor I did not know where he was born, he answered, “I was born in Ireland.” I made answer it made no difference where a man was born, provided he behaved himself and did not insult genteel persons.
I would have come myself but am quite sore and stiff from the treatment I received from those monsters in human form yesterday afternoon. This statement I believe to be correct and it is respectfully submitted.”
This 1854 confrontation led to Jennings filing and winning a lawsuit against the streetcar company. The case would help desegregate public transit in New York City.