Bridget 'Biddy' MasonBridget 'Biddy' Mason

Bridget ‘Biddy’ Mason

1818-1891 – Born into slavery, Biddy Mason traveled from Mississippi to southern California with plantation owners Robert and Rebecca Smith and their family and slaves. But before the Smiths could whisk the group away to the slave state of Utah to retain ownership of their slaves, Mason enlisted the aid of two black Los Angeles businessmen and gained freedom for herself and her family.

Finally able to choose her own path in life, Mason earned a good income as a nurse-midwife for both newly arrived immigrants and wealthy clients and subsequently gained respect in the community. Through donations, she supported charities that helped the needy of Los Angeles and that helped build the first African Methodist Episcopal church in California. In 1989 a memorial depicting Mason’s achievements was erected in Los Angeles.