Tag: sued for freedom

Unsung Black Women in History: Biddy Mason, from Slavery to One of Los Angeles’ Wealthiest Black Entrepreneurs

BIDDY MASON  CALIFORNIA SUED FOR HER FREEDOM_jpgFrom Clutch Magazine:

Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Madame CJ Walker—the list of women typically mentioned during Black History Month is incredibly short. But this year, CLUTCH will celebrate the achievements of black women you may not have ever heard about.

First up: Bridget “Biddy” Mason.

Bridget “Biddy” Mason was born on August 15, 1818 in Georgia. Mason was born into slavery and before her death in 1891 she become one of Los Angeles’ wealthiest Black residents and philanthropists.

After working on a plantation in Mississippi owned by Robert Marion Smith, Mason migrated to Utah with the Smiths, who had converted to Mormonism. During the grueling two-thousand-mile journey, Mason herded cattle, prepared meals, and worked as a nurse and midwife. In 1851, Smith moved his brood, including his enslaved servants, to San Bernardino, California.

California was admitted to the Union as a free state in 1850 and forbade slavery, because of this, Smith planned to relocate to Texas to continue holding slaves. However, in 1856 Mason petitioned the court and sued Smith for her freedom. She won her case, securing not only her freedom, but also that of her daughters, as well as 10 other Black women and their children.

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