Gladys Owens Spikes (left) next to a statue of her grandmother, Bridget “Biddy” Mason. Born a slave in Mississippi in 1818, Mason moved to Los Angeles after securing her freedom in 1856. She was one of the first African American women to own land in the city and, after amassing a personal fortune of nearly $300,000, became a noted philanthropist.
Part of the Charlotta Bass / California Eagle Photograph Collection in the USC Digital Library.

Gladys Owens Spikes (left) next to a statue of her grandmother, Bridget “Biddy” Mason. Born a slave in Mississippi in 1818, Mason moved to Los Angeles after securing her freedom in 1856. She was one of the first African American women to own land in the city and, after amassing a personal fortune of nearly $300,000, became a noted philanthropist.

Part of the Charlotta Bass / California Eagle Photograph Collection in the USC Digital Library.