Bridget “Biddy” Mason

LA Real Estate Entrepreneur Who Sued For Her Freedom from Slavery

Born into slavery, Biddy traveled with her master across the United States to settle in the new Mormon Utopia of Utah before heading even farther west to California. When he sought to return with Biddy to Texas, where her children would have been—as far as Texas law was concerned—immediately enslaved, she enlisted the help of a few free Black people, and successfully sued her owner for her freedom.

After that, without ever learning to read or write, Biddy became a real estate entrepreneur and businesswoman who helped build the city of Los Angeles from the ground up.