Biddy Mason: The Mormon Slave That Became a Californian Treasure

Biddy Mason

TweetShareShare“Biddy” spent nearly forty years as a slave for a Mississippi slave master. She never learned to read or write. And yet she saved her midwife salary to become a wealthy Black real estate magnate…and revered philanthropist. It’s quite the story. It’s also an inspiring tale that proves it’s not how you start life that…

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Mary Ellen Pleasant: San Francisco’s “Golden” Girl

Mary Ellen Pheasant

TweetShareShareShe was Black America’s first self-made millionaire. The most powerful woman in San Francisco’s Gold-Rush period. She was a “one-woman social agency” for emancipated Blacks. Her name was Mary Ellen Pleasant…and her legendary story is simply unbelievable. Born in 1814, we know little about Mary Ellen’s youth because she told different tales to “please her…

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William Alexander Leidesdorff, Jr.: California’s Black Millionaire Founding Father

William Alexander Leidesdorff Founding Black Father of California

TweetShareShareHis legacy is as long as his name. Known as the “African Founding Father of California” William Alexander Leidesdorff, Jr. (1810-1848) helped start San Francisco. He was America’s first Black millionaire thanks to highly lucrative businesses in shipping and lumber. And he was multi-racial…African, Cuban and Jewish.   Leidesdorff’s contributions and name are largely lost…

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The Golden Spike Connects a Nation

TweetShareShareIt was one of the most significant transportation projects in U.S. history: the transcontinental railroad. Over six years (1863-1869) in the making, this railroad project joined the eastern states with the western frontier. The golden spike (or “The Last Spike”) was a ceremonial 17.6-karat gold spike driven by Leland Stanford to connect the rails of…

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The Dust Bowl Cometh

TweetShareShare The “Dust Bowl” got its name on this date (a.k.a. “Black Sunday”) when a huge windstorm blanketed the midwest. America was in the heart of a Great Depression at the time. Could life be more miserable? The Dust Bowl would have one benefactor: California. With news of work and a better life in the…

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Westward Ho! The Pony Express!

TweetShareShare Did you know the fabled Pony Express was actually a massive failure? It’s true. It lasted only 18 months as a mail service. The innovations of the telegraph and railroad proved better means for transporting America’s letters to the West. TweetShareShare

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