Over a decade ago, I started a company called “Noir Steps” that focused on tracing the roots and history of African Americans throughout the Los Angeles area. I started the company because people were always asking me if I knew of any tour companies that highlighted the contributions, neighborhoods and businesses of African Americans in the city of Los Angeles. This was especially of interest to school teachers, people planning family reunions, as well as conferences and conventions that were coming to Los Angeles. The contributions of African Americans in the foundation of Los Angeles is strong and one of those pioneers is none other than Bridget “Biddy” Mason.
The accomplishments of Biddy Mason are simply amazing. She was born August 15, 1818 in Hancock County, Georgia as a slave. Ms. Mason was brought to California by Missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) that settled in the San Bernardino area (not far from where I was born and raised). She eventually was able to escape and traveled towards Los Angeles where she was granted her freedom. She was very active and during her lifetime she was a mid-wife, real estate entrepreneur, nurse and philanthropist. She is also credited as being one of the founders of First A.M.E. Church (FAME) in Los Angeles. Not enough can be said about her generosity and kindness towards the less fortunate. Because of her giving spirit many referred to her as “Auntie Mason” or “Grandma Mason.” Ms. Mason was also the proud mother to three daughters, Ellen, Ann and Harriet. She died in Los Angeles in 1891 at the age of 72.
When founder and chair of The Women’s Group of Greater Los Angeles County, Diane Mitchell Henry, contacted me to participate in the 4th Annual “A CALL FOR BOLDNESS” Biddy Mason Unsung Shero Legacy Celebration that will be held on Saturday, August 11th beginning at 10:00am at the Biddy Mason Memorial Park, which is located at 333 South Spring Street in Downtown Los Angeles I was excited. The event will celebrate the 200th birthday of Ms. Mason. It is free to the community and the Honorable Jan Perry will serve as the Honorary Celebration Committee Chair. There are many women from across the Southern California area and beyond that will extend their support to this event. I am proud to be this year’s keynote speaker.
The event will honor women 100 years or older that have been nominated by community partners. These women have made valuable contributions in making our communities better and have exhibited a spirit of boldness that mirrors the gifts, talents and skills of Biddy Mason. The overall purpose of the event is to educate, empower, engage and encourage guests to emulate the character of Ms. Biddy Mason to be bold, brave, brilliant and to be better advocates for social and economic justice despite the obstacles that still seem to challenge our community. Now more than ever we must be diligent in the fight to not only keep our history alive, but to continue in the struggle to make our communities better for the next generation. We are grateful for the life and legacy of Ms. Bridget “Biddy” Mason.
Healing Without Hate: It’s a choice. It’s a lifestyle. Pass it on!
Visit www.WendyEnterprises.com and www.forgivingforliving.org. Wendy is a coach, consultant and speaker. You may email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.