Biddy Mason the extraordinary woman

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She rises

 

Bridget "Biddy" Mason  was an African-American nurse and a Californian real estate investor and philanthropist.  She is the founder of the First African Methodist Episcopal Church in Los Angeles.  


Born a slave, she developed knowledge of medicine, childbearing and childcare, and livestock care and arrived in California as a slave but once here she successfully petitioned a court for her freedom.


The best way to meet this extraordinary woman is the scene where she describes how she came to be at the Bravado Rancho where she has becomes  a valued friend and advisor.


CONSUELO BRAVADO 

Biddy, it was a lucky day when Sherriff George Burrill brought you here.   


BIDDY MASON 

I'll tell you the truth, you folks were the answer to prayer.  needed some work to getting going in California now that I am free. I didn't know what I was going to do when we escaped from my slave master.  He was taking me and my girls to Texas to sell us.


CONSUELO BRAVADO 

Maybe, it was the hand of fate Biddy, but whatever it was we are sure grateful that you are here now and free.  Susana, do you know how Biddy got here?


SUSANA BRAVADO 

I heard something, but not from Biddy, not yet.  I was waiting Biddy for you to tell me.


BIDDY MASON 

Well, I'll tell you quick because I have something in the oven you are going to like.  My master was Mormon, but I’m not Mormon because slaves were not baptized in their church but members are encouraged to free their slaves, but Mr. Smith chose not to free us at all. First he brought us up from Mississippi to Salt Lake when all the rest of them moved out there, Utah is a slave state but then he brought us here to San Bernardino when they started the settlement here and thank God, California is a free state.  We found out that any slave who lives in California or was born in California was free. I lived in California for four years and we knew the law and we knew that we all wanted to be free, but we were under the control of Mr. Robert Smith and he is a man ignorant of the laws and of our rights. He wanted us to go to Texas and he told us that we would be free in Texas, but we knew that wasn't true and I did not believe him.  I knew that Mr. Smith was going to sell us in Texas and I was worried that I would be separated from my children like I was from my mother.


CONSUELO BRAVADO 

Biddy, someday when you have more  time, could you please tell Susana the whole story.


BIDDY MASON 

I will, and we'll find time Susana won't we.


SUSANA BRAVADO 

Yes, we will.


CONSUELO BRAVADO 

Biddy, why don't you join us for some tea and sit down we are about to have an important talk.


BIDDY MASON 

If it is about the boys and the court, I am sure that you ladies are more than enough for the task, and anyway I have some baking in process and its best that I am in the kitchen right now, but you can tell me later what you decide.  Look at all you beautiful and intelligent women, I know that you will protect your babies like I did mine, whatever it takes.