Bridget "Biddy" Mason

Bridget Biddy Mason From Slave to MogulBorn into slavery, Bridget “Biddy” Mason started her journey to California with her owners the Smith’s in Mississippi who joined a Mormon caravan and forced her to mostly walk over 2,000 miles across the country. Once they arrived in California, a free state, “Biddy” be-friended a number of free Black people. Despite slavery being illegal in California, The Smith’s still held “Biddy” and her children captive and insisted that they wanted to be there. “Biddy’s” new friends informed her of her rights and encouraged her to petition for her freedom and also reported her owner to the sheriff for his illegal slave caravan. “Biddy” was able to petition for her freedom; however, due to the state law which prohibited Black people from testifying against White people, she was not permitted to testify in court. Luckily for her, “Biddy’s” owner didn’t show up to court. The judge in-turn granted her and her family freedom. She then moved to L.A. where she started a business as a mid-wife and saved up enough of her earnings to purchase multiple properties throughout LA, making her one of the first African-American women to buy and own land in Los Angeles. She also founded the first African-American Methodist Episcopal Church which holds the largest black congregation in LA even still today. Through her real-estate investments, she purchased multiple neighborhoods and became a well-known philanthropist who was also one of the wealthiest people in Los Angeles. Not just a Black person, but a person in general.


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