Mary Custis Lee
Born: July 12, 1835
Birthplace: Arlington House, Arlington, Virginia
Father: General Robert Edward Lee 1807 – 1870
Mother: Mary Anna Randolph Custis 1808 – 1873
Died: November 22, 1918
Place of Death: Hot Springs, Virginia
Age at time of Death: 83 years old
Burial Place: Lee Chapel Cemetery, Lexington, Virginia
On the evening of June 13, 1902, Mary Custis Lee was arrested on an Alexandria streetcar for sitting in the section reserved for black patrons. As the daughter of Robert E. Lee, the General of the Confederate Army, the incident caused quite a stir within the community.
On her way to visit a friend, and being burdened with many large bags, Miss Lee chose to sit near the rear of the car in order to easily exit upon arriving at her destination. Shortly after she sat down the conductor Thomas Chauncey “explained the Virginia law on the subject, but being ignorant of the existence of the law herself, and also being loth [sic] to move her baggage, she protested.” At that time, Chauncey let her stay seated.
At the next stop, a black man boarded the car. The conductor stated that Miss Lee “was occupying a seat to which he was entitled under the law” and asked her once again to move to the front section, which was reserved for whites. But, even after being threatened with arrest, Miss Lee refused to give up her seat.
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