Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Black Maria.

 Black Man (The).Black Monday. 
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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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