Mary V. (Cunningham) Smith

Mary V. (Cunningham) Smith (1842-1919) was the daughter of dance master/band leader James C. Cunningham. Mary was raised to appreciate music, and she became a widely known pianist and organist. In 1870, Mary and her husband Early Smith, a barber and saloon owner, filed a lawsuit against the Louisville City Railway Company indicating the company had removed Mary and her six-year-old stepson, Gustavus, from the streetcar because of their race. Mary and her husband were represented by three white attorneys, one of them was James Speed. The Smiths won the case. Image from Kentucky Center for African American Heritage.