LA Dreamers: Our African-American Pioneers – Biddy Mason

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We’re continuing to celebrate Black History Month, as we highlight L.A. Dreamers — Southern California’s most powerful pioneers.

Today, KTLA’s Gayle Anderson remembers Biddy Mason, one of the first women to own land in Los Angeles.

Born into southern slavery in 1818, slave owners brought Mason to San Bernardino, California, in 1851.

The mother of three petitioned the court for her freedom and won it in 1856.

Driven to succeed, it took Mason 10 years as a free woman to acquire her first piece of property.

Known for her generosity, this savvy businesswoman accumulated a sizable fortune of $300,000 — a lot of money in her time.

She also co-founded L.A.’s first black church, First AME Church of Los Angeles.

Mason died in 1891. You can honor this L.A. Dreamer at Biddy Mason Park in downtown L.A. between Spring Street and Broadway.

If you’d like to find out more about Mason and other L.A. pioneers, the Los Angeles Urban League has a special free exhibit called “The 90 That Built L.A.”

For more information, go to

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