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Black History Biographies

The first black woman in Los Angeles to own property and later, one of California's wealthiest African American women, Biddy Mason never dreamed of becoming a pioneer. She was forced to by her master, to whom she had been given as a "wedding gift" at just eighteen years of age. Walking 1700 miles across the Great Plains, Biddy herded cattle, set up camp, fed a large family, and cared for her master's sickly wife-all with a nursing baby on her hip. Though small in stature, Biddy had an indomitable spirit, braving bitter cold, thunderstorms, hailstorms, blistering heat, and blistered feet. After gaining her freedom in California, Biddy put all her knowledge, skill, and resourcefulness to good use, delivering babies, healing the sick, and feeding the hungry. Known for her charity and generosity, Biddy cared for the afflicted during the smallpox epidemic, founded the First African Methodist Episcopal Church in Los Angeles, started schools for black children, and visited jail inmates. Her grateful community lovingly called her Grandma Mason-the woman who lived by the gospel of the "open hand." 64 pages, softcover. Grades 1 and up.

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