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Black Maria


The black van which conveys prisoners from the police courts to jail. The French call a mud-barge a “Marie-salope.” The tradition is that the van referred to was so called from Maria Lee, a negress, who kept a sailorsʹ boarding house in Boston. She was a woman of such great size and strength that the unruly stood in dread of her, and when constables required help, it was a common thing to send for Black Maria, who soon collared the refractory and led them to the lock-up. So a prison-van was called a “Black Maria.”

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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Black Jack
Black Jack (A)
Black Joke
Black Leg
Black Letter
Black Letter Day
Black Lists
Black Looks
Black Mail
Black Man (The)
Black Maria
Black Monday
Black Money
Black Ox
Black Parliament
Black Prince
Black Republicans
Black Rod
Black Rood of Sootland
Black Russia
Black Saturday