Welcome to day 12 of Black History Month. Today I’m turning the spotlight on Bridget “Biddy” Mason. She was able to support her family with her financial success.
Biddy was born in Mississippi in 1818 as a slave. She was owned in Georgia and South Carolina, even though she was from Mississippi. In 1848, she walked over 1,000 miles behind a wagon to Salt Lake City.
Her duties consisted of cooking, herding, setting up, and breaking camp.
Biddy and her children were apart of the Mormon community. In 1851, Biddy was brought to the new community with other slaves. There she met free blacks, who suggested to her that she should legally contest her slave status once she gets to California, a free state.
Biddy’s owner tried to move Biddy and his other slaves to Texas in 1855, because he was afraid that he would lose them. He wasn’t able to move them out because it was illegal to have slaves in California.
After a few years of living as a slave in a free state, Biddy decided to challenge her owner for her freedom. She made her petition on January 19, 1856 in court for her freedom, and her extended family as well.
Three days later, the court ruled in favor of Biddy, stating that slavery was prohibited in California. She and her family moved to Los Angeles, where she worked as a nurse, and a midwife.
She became a philanthropist to the Los Angeles community. Biddy died in 1891.