Back to top

In Philadelphia, white streetcar riders vote overwhelmingly to keep black citizens from city streetcars

Pennsylvania Rail Road Station, Eleventh and Market Streets, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, circa 1861
Black leaders in Philadelphia had earlier urged the city's transport companies to emulate New York City and desegregate their services. A public company survey of all customers on the question "Shall colored persons be allowed to ride in all the cars" resulted in an overwhelming "no" vote. Despite this, a few streetcar lines made some efforts to integrate but it was not until 1867 that state action forced full integration of city transport.  (By John Osborne)
Source Citation: 
Russell F. Weigley, "The Border City in Civil War, 1854-1865" in Russell Frank Weigley, Nicholas B. Wainwright, Edwin Wolf, et al, Philadelphia: A 300 Year History (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., Inc, 1982), 415-416.
J.Thomas Scharf and Thompson Wescott, History of Philadelphia 1609-1884, in three volumes (Philadelphia, PA: L.H. Everts & Co., 1884), I: 821