Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Black Maria.

 Black Man (The).Black Monday. 
E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
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 sailors’ 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.”   1

 Black Man (The).Black Monday. 


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