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I said I Would Not Get Out

January 17, 1865 — Testimony in trial of Charlotte L. Brown vs. Omnibus Railroad Company, 12th Judicial District Court, San Francisco, CA


I started from home for the purpose of visiting my physician on Howard St. On going down Filbert, when one of the cars came along and the driver hailed me by giving me a signal of raising his hand. I returned the signal, the car stopped and I got in. It was 7 or 8’o’clock p.m. I entered from the rear platform. The car then started immediately. There were 3 passengers in the car at the time I entered, two gentleman and one lady. I took my seat about midway and on the left hand side. I rode to the corner of Jackson & Stockton, betw Union & Greene, the conductor went around to collect tickets and when he came to me I handed him my ticket and he refused to take it. It was one of the omnibus RailRoad tickets, one that I had purchased of them previous to that time. He replied that colored persons were not allowed to ride. I told him I had been in the habit of riding ever since the cars had been running. He answered, colored persons are not allowed to ride and I would have to get out. I answered that I had a great ways to go and I was later than I ought to be. At the same time he pulled the strap for me to get out, I said I would not get out. He then pulled the strap for the car to start on, telling that I would have to get out further on. They  next stopped to take on a lady passenger, and when she was being taken on board, the conductor told me again that I must get out. I then told him positively I would not get out. The car started again and went as far as Jackson & Stockton Sts, & betw. Pacific & Jackson Its, the conductor walked through to the driver. The conductor’s name was Denison. After speaking to driver he (the conductor) came to me & told me Must get out and took hold of me. The car had then stopped to take someone else in, at or near the corner, and I then asked I’m if he intended to put me out and he said yes, and at the same time let me out and I said I would seek redress, and he answered,”very good”

I handed the ticket to the conductor, so that he must have seen it. I had purchased the ticket on the Sunday before that, while going to church, from one of the conductors of one of this company’s cars.

I lived one block from where I took the car. I came down Filbert St. on that night. It may have been a hundred yards from our house to where I took car. When conductor first came to me, and refused to take my ticket, I told him I had a right to ride, it was a public conveyance; I told him I had a long distance to go, but didn’t tell him that I had come a long ways. I told him I would not get out. He then said “Madam, you will have to get out” and at the same time took hold of me, by the left arm, somewhere. He took hold of my arm. I made no resistance as he had taken me by the arm I knew it was of no use to resist, and therefore I went out, and he kept hold of me until I was out of the car, holding on to me until I struck the walk. He didn’t hurt me at all. I did not take the next car, but another one of the same company and went to the doctor’s. I got into the second car afterwards, and the conductor of that car did not object. I had a veil, but did not wear it down. I had it was I have it now. I never wore it down, at night, neither myself nor my family had ever been ejected from any car before that time.



Source: Transcript of Charlotte Brown plea, 1863. Legal documents: Charlotte L. Brown vs. Omnibus Railroad company, 1863-1866, California Historical Society.