Bridget “Biddy” Mason was born into slavery but further story of her life impresses many.
Revelation of the story of one of Los Angeles’ first Black real estate moguls took almost 100 years. Over the course of her life, Biddy Mason won her freedom in a California courtroom, became a pioneer for Black nurses, amassed a $300,000 fortune as a businesswoman and purchased a $250 plot of land at 331 Spring Street at a time when many African Americans were still considered property, according to historians.
The money helped Mason built her first house and establish the First African Methodist Episcopal Church, the city’s first Black congregation in 1872.
“Biddy Mason has had a significant impact on the Los Angeles Black community,” said Tyree Boyd-Pates, a professor and history curator at the California African-American Museum. “Biddy Mason’s lasting legacy serves as reminder of the resilience and fortitude of Black men and women who serve as pioneers, as well as entrepreneurs. Without her contributions, Los Angeles wouldn’t what it is today.”
People like Biddy Mason deserve being remembered. Their stories should be brought to light and maybe even taught at schools. Whites enjoy sweeping the achievements of Black people under the carpet as it helps to support the image of a poor and unsuccessful African American. This must be changed and we can change it together by just sharing the information we have.