Biddy Mason necklace First African American woman land owner Los Angeles mixed media jewelry
*In 1856, Robert Smith, Mason's owner, planned to move to the slave state of a Texas. As part of the Compromise of 1850, California was a free state and any slave brought into the state was free. However, Smith had refused Church leaders' counsel to set his slaves free and maintained that Bridget and her children were his property. He planned to take them with him overland to Texas.
Bridget, helped by friends, attempted to escape from Smith. She and a group of Smith's other slaves traveled towards Los Angeles before Smith caught up with them. A local posse caught up with Smith before he could leave the state.
Bridget petitioned a Los Angeles court for her freedom. A California judge, Benjamin Ignatius Hayes, granted her freedom as a resident of a free state,as well as the freedom of the other slaves held captive by Smith (Bridget's three daughters, and ten other African-American women and children). In 1860, Mason received a certified copy of the document that guaranteed her freedom.
Mason worked in Los Angeles as a nurse and midwife. One of her employers was the noted physician John Strother Griffin. Saving carefully, she was one of the first African Americans to purchase land in the city. As a businesswoman she amassed a small fortune of nearly $300,000, which she shared generously with charities. Biddy also fed and sheltered the poor, and visited prisoners. She was instrumental in founding a traveler's aid center, and an elementary school for black children. Because of her kind and giving spirit, many called her "Auntie Mason" or "Grandma Mason"
In 1872 Mason was a founding member of First African Methodist Episcopal Church, the city's first black church. The organizing meetings were held in her home on Spring Street. She donated the land on which the church was built.
She spoke fluent Spanish and was a well-known figure downtown, especially at the old plaza, where she conducted business......
Mason is an honoree in the California Social Work Hall of Distinction. She is also celebrated on Biddy Mason Day on November 16.
In her honor, the Biddy Mason Park has been established on South Spring Street in Los Angeles, California. (Wikipedia)
A paper image is affixed and finished to steel with a product that creates an oil painting like look and texture and renders the image UV protected and water resistant. Steel is lightweight, comfortable and sturdy. Necklaces are finished with copper colored chain with a lobster claw clasp, all lead and nickel free. If you select a pendant, they come on 18 inches of satin cord finished with a lobster claw clasp.
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