Bridget “Biddy” Mason an Important Figure in Real Estate

Bridget “Biddy” Mason was born enslaved in Mississippi in 1818. Her last owner moved Biddy and her family first to Utah as a part of the westward movement of the Mormons, then to California was slavery was outlawed. Encouraged by a free black couple she met along the way, Biddy challenged her owner for her freedom.

On January 21, 1856, Biddy and thirteen of her extended family were freed. Taking the last name Mason, she moved to L.A. where she worked as a midwife and nurse, saved her money, and purchased land in what is now downtown LA.

The newly christened Mason organized the First A.M.E. Church and used her wealth (estimated at $3 million) to feed and shelter the poor, care for prisoners, and establish an elementary school for black children.

Biddy Mason’s wealth-building and property ownership were remarkable feats in her time, and her philanthropy remains impressive today. This #BlackHistoryMonth, we will be honoring Biddy Mason among so many other black leaders in real estate.