Elizabeth Jennings Graham
New York City will soon erect a statue to Elizabeth Jennings Graham, the African American woman credited with beginning the process of desegregating New York City's mass transit system in 1854. The ststue will, appropriately, be near Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan.
Elizabeth Jennings Graham (1827-1901) challenged racial segregation well before the Civil Rights Movement when, on July 16, 1854, she boarded a streetcar that prohibited black passengers and refused to leave until forcibly removed by the police. Graham later won $225 in damages after successfully suing the Third Avenue Railroad Company, the conductor, and the streetcar driver. Her landmark case was the first step toward ending transit segregation in the City. Graham’s monument will be erected next to Grand Central Station.