Bridget “Biddy” Mason
Location: 333 S. Spring St., Los Angeles Born a slave in 1818, Biddy Mason walked to California behind her Mississippi master’s wagon. After meeting freed slaves in San Bernardino, she went to court, winning her freedom in 1856. For the next 10 years, she saved her wages from jobs as a midwife and nurse to buy property near 4th and Spring streets in downtown L.A. In the years that followed, “Biddy Mason’s Place” became known as a daycare center and orphanage and as the meeting place for the city’s first African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. In the 1880s, she financed a disaster center for residents left homeless by flooding.
An 8-by-81-foot timeline wall of Los Angeles’ and Mason’s intertwined history is dedicated to the entrepreneur and philanthropist on a parking garage near where her home once stood. Nov. 16, 1989, was declared Biddy Mason Day in Los Angeles. Mason died in 1891 at 72 years old.
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