This site is dedicated to the memory of our grandmother Biddy Mason, who was known affectionately to many in Los Angeles as Aunt Biddy and Grandma Biddy. Biddy Mason is an American Hero and early trailblazer of the West in general, and a pioneer of Los Angeles, in particular. She has four living descendants: her 4th great granddaughters Cheryl and Robynn Cox, and her fifth great-grandchildren Daniel and Dakota. Biddy Mason was absolutely extraordinary and has been a source of strength for our family. We believe her story should be shared with the world because she is truly a source of inspiration and hope for all marginalized people.
Biddy Mason was born a slave on August 15, 1818. She eventually became one of the first pioneers of Los Angeles, as well as a successful real estate entrepreneur, midwife and nurse, and philanthropist. She also founded the First African Methodist Episcopal Church (F.A.M.E.) in Los Angeles.
As a slave, she walked from Mississippi to Utah, then to Los Angeles, herding animals and tending to the needs of her slave master, all while caring for her three small children Ellen, Anne, and Harriet. After arriving in California, she successfully fought for and won her freedom through the court system in 1856. After winning her freedom, she worked for Dr. John S. Griffin (as depicted in the UC San Francisco murals to the right) as a nurse and midwife. She saved her money and eventually amassed great wealth by the time of her death in 1891.
Despite all of her wealth, she continued to serve the community treating anyone in need, black or white, as well as those no one else wanted to help, such as prisoners. She gave shelter to the homeless and fed the hungry. Because of her work and philanthropy, she was inducted into the California Social Work Hall of Distinction in 2002.
"If you hold your hand closed, nothing good can come in. The open hand is blessed, for it gives in abundance, even as it receives." - Biddy Mason