In Her Day, She was a Combination of Martin L. King, Jr.,
PLEASANT, Mary E. (1814?-1904). Born a slave near Augusta, Georgia. Mammy Pleasant became one of the best known abolitionists of her time. It is said she was the daughter of a Voodoo priestess and her father was a white son of a Governor of Virginia. She went north to live in Nantucket with the Quakers until 1841. She married a wealthy mulatto and Mary and her husband served on the Underground railroad. Her husband died during the mid 1840’s leaving her wealthy. Mary continued her slave rescue until the late 1840’s. She would travel south in disguise as a delivery man with a wagon to help hundreds of slaves escape to freedom. She became hunted as a slave rescuer and in 1852 she fled west to San Francisco. She also traveled to new Orleans to study voodoo. In 1858 she returned back east to act as a financial backer to john brown who was planning his historic raid on the Federal Arsenal at Harper’s Ferry. Pleasant, in disguise, rode ahead of the raiding party to notify slaves of the attack. The plan failed and Brown was captured and hanged for treason. Mary Pleasant narrowly escaped with her life and returned to California. After the Civil war, she dropped her white persona and let everyone known she was an African American.
Rosa Parks and Malcolm X all Rolled Up In One!
In 1868, she brought a lawsuit against two San Francisco trolley lines whose conductors had refused to allow her to ride. Her suit went to the California Supreme Court where she won the rights for all African Americans to ride the streetcars. During her lifetime, she amassed a $30 million fortune. She was also known as the “Queen of Voodoo.” She built the “House of Mystery” on Octavio Street in San Francisco. Very RARE partly printed check, signed: “M.E. Pleasant.” Measures 7.75”x3”, San Francisco, California, June 3, 1876. Made out to “Cash” for $20.00. Drawn on Donohoe, Kelly & Co. Bankers. A rarely encountered autograph in any form. Very fine condition............... $750.00