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LA Biddy Mason Park (#0643)

LA Biddy Mason Park (#0643)
A surprisingly hidden park in downtown LA. The park commemorates the complex, difficult, and very successful life of Biddy Mason who was born into slavery and died as one of the wealthiest women in Los Angeles.

Mason was born into slavery in Georgia in 1818 and not freed until 1856 when her master took her to California and a sympathetic judge freed her (California forbid slavery). In slavery she learned to be an expert nurse and midwife, occupations which she maintained throughout her life. BUT, being that she was in California, she became wealthy in the California way – through owning real estate in the developing area of Los Angeles at the same location as what is now the park. She died in 1891. The following link provides a fascinating story of her life: la.curbed.com/2017/3/1/14756308/biddy-mason-california-black-history
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Though having explored LA culture and specifically its downtown for 20+ years, I had never heard the story of Biddy Mason and would not have discovered the park if not being led to it by a friend who had, himself, only recently discovered the park. (The memorial was erected in 1989)

Biddy Mason Park is in an alley-like space that is literally between Broadway and Spring in the 300 block (between 3rd and 4th). The easiest way to find it is to go to 333 S. Spring and walk through the arcade at that address, you’ll find the park at the back of the building. The prettier way to reach it is through a tiny tree-lined park running alongside a restaurant as 332 S. Broadway, again is at the back of the building. There are NO street signs pointing you towards the park.

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