And they call the van "Mariah" (1846)

Sam Clements sclements at NEO.RR.COM
Tue Sep 30 05:37:13 UTC 2003

Not an antedating, as HDAS has 1843 for "Black Maria" as a police van,
specifically in Philadelphia.  The next HDAS cite is 1847, also "Black

>From,  Republican Compiler(Gettysburg, PA), Sept. 14, 1846.
p.2, col. 1

     "No longer grace can be allowed these indifferent partizans:  after the
stated hour, the committee must wake them, shake them, and if still
indifferent, force them into a carriage, like convicts in 'Black Mariah,'
and drive them to the polls, nolens volens."

This gives some legitimacy, I would think,  to the first cite being from
Philadelphia.  It is more important, IMHO, that the term is spelled "Mariah"
rather than "Maria."  I assume that the writer understood the word to be
pronounced Ma RYE Ah, rather than Ma REE Ah.   It was a black Ma RYE Ah as I
grew up in the 1950's.

I wonder now 'how' the name 'Maria' was pronounced in the early 1800's?

"Wake them,  shake them."  Zounds!  Sounds like Sports Center.


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