California Today: Meet Biddy Mason, a Black Woman Who Helped Build Los Angeles

Great morning.

(Here’s the sign-up, if you don’t already get California Today by email.)

When you think of the people who built Los Angeles, the names in which most likely jump to mind — William Mulholland, the Chandlers — are often those of white men. the item’s not surprising, along with also the item’s not unusual among American cities.

in which’s why, when I heard Laura Atkins, a Berkeley-based children’s book author, mention Bridge Mason, known as Biddy, on an episode of the podcast East Bay Yesterday, I took note.

Ms. Mason, she said, had been born enslaved, won her freedom in a California court from the mid-1850s along with also eventually became a prominent downtown L.A. landowner — not to mention the growing metropolis’s richest woman.

She organized the city’s First A.M.E. church along with also was a philanthropist.

the item’s Black History Month, so I’ve been thinking about what the item means to honor the legacies of people whom history has traditionally left out.