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Biddy Mason, the San Bernardino slave freed by LA judge, is focus of museum talk – Daily News

Bridget “Biddy” Mason was the slave from San Bernardino who gained her freedom in a Los Angeles courtroom in 1856 and went on to an unbelievable life as a midwife, civic chief, rich property proprietor and philanthropist in downtown Los Angeles.

You could have examine her in my column last August. Much of my analysis concerned talking with two historians, Sarah Barringer Gordon of the University of Pennsylvania and Kevin Waite of Durham University in London. They are co-directors of the Biddy Mason Collaborative, a project to analysis Mason and early Black life in Los Angeles, with plans for a much-needed biography of this fascinating determine.

Now Barringer Gordon and Waite might be participating in a livestreamed presentation dedicated to Mason and arranged by the Ontario Museum of History and Art. That’s going down from 11 a.m. to midday on Saturday, Feb. 20.

Who might be moderating this dialogue? Yours actually. We’ll all be collaborating from our respective areas on two continents. (What might go fallacious?)

Watch us by way of the Zoom link at Questions might be taken towards the finish. The program is half of the museum’s Black History Month and its ongoing Year of the Woman celebration.

Black historical past and ladies’s historical past each? Among her many different accomplishments, Biddy Mason was additionally fairly the twofer.

Bureaucratic well being

Led by West Covina, some San Gabriel Valley cities, together with Azusa, Claremont, Diamond Bar, San Dimas and Walnut, are speaking about forming their very own well being division to get out from below L.A. County’s thumb, as my colleague Javier Rojas recently reported.

My guess is it gained’t go farther than talk. Anyway, Pomona, the largest of this cluster of neighboring cities, is not considering splitting from the county. This makes good sense given the historical past.

Under its constitution, Pomona had its personal public well being division, and public well being officer, till 1919. That’s when the metropolis was — get this — the first to switch that operate to L.A. County, in response to the e book “Pomona Centennial History.” Note that 1919 was the tail finish of the final pandemic, the Spanish flu.

In different phrases, simply as a pandemic now leads some cities to suppose they’re higher off impartial, again then Pomona leaders determined the experience of the county was what was known as for. A examine in contrasts, a century aside.

As a Nov. 5, 1919 story in the Pomona Bulletin reported, the end result was that L.A. County created a brand new “health district” comprised of Pomona, La Verne and San Dimas. (Maybe that’s a compromise leaders might pursue as we speak: persuading the county to place them in their very own class.) The story added: “Claremont, which was at first designated as part of the proposed district, later declined to enter.”

Maybe Claremont will decline to interrupt away, too.


So the LA County Fair is canceled for 2021 just as it was in 2020. This time there’s talk of a smaller occasion in the fall fairly than the regular three-week extravaganza. All I can say is, the truthful isn’t making it straightforward for me to maintain my 23-year attendance streak alive, or your individual attendance streaks for that matter. Still, officers generously mentioned that my 2020 tour of the fairgrounds with them counted as a 24th straight fair. Especially since, by puttering round the grounds with them in a golf cart, that meant I went on a trip.

David Allen rides Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Email [email protected], telephone 909-483-9339, go to, like davidallencolumnist on Facebook and comply with @davidallen909 on Twitter.