19th century postcard depicting Baltimore Harbor, with the steamboat  Chester  in the center of the image. Collections of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.   On this day, May 31, in 1872, a Chesapeake steamboat was the object of one of the earliest pre-Jim Crow cases in Maryland. Josephine Carr, an African-American school teacher from
 Kent County, sued the steamboat  Chester  for an assault. The incident 
had taken place on May 14, when Carr sat in the steamboat’s main cabin- a space reserved for white passengers. When Carr refused to 
move, the captain and crew dragged her to the black-only forward cabin, where Carr declined to wait. Instead, she moved to the bow, where she stood until the  Chester  reached Chestertown and Carr disembarked. She would later file a libel suit against the  Chester  for her mistreatment.   Carr won her landmark case, and was awarded $25 damages. Carr’s case was one of several 
in which 19th century courts ruled in favor of blacks on 
transportation accommodations- a precursor to many such standoffs, which Rosa Parks would someday make famous.

19th century postcard depicting Baltimore Harbor, with the steamboat Chester in the center of the image. Collections of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.

On this day, May 31, in 1872, a Chesapeake steamboat was the object of one of the earliest pre-Jim Crow cases in Maryland. Josephine Carr, an African-American school teacher from Kent County, sued the steamboat Chester for an assault. The incident had taken place on May 14, when Carr sat in the steamboat’s main cabin- a space reserved for white passengers. When Carr refused to move, the captain and crew dragged her to the black-only forward cabin, where Carr declined to wait. Instead, she moved to the bow, where she stood until the Chester reached Chestertown and Carr disembarked. She would later file a libel suit against the Chester for her mistreatment.

Carr won her landmark case, and was awarded $25 damages. Carr’s case was one of several in which 19th century courts ruled in favor of blacks on transportation accommodations- a precursor to many such standoffs, which Rosa Parks would someday make famous.