About Biddy Mason Scholarship and Financial Aid Fund

Californians for the Advancement of Midwifery is delighted to announce our second year of the scholarship program for Black midwifery students preparing for licensure. This year we have named the scholarship for Bridget “Biddy” Mason in honor of her contribution to midwifery in the state of California.

Bridget “Biddy” Mason was a black woman who was born into slavery in 1818. She was called to herbalism, nursing and midwifery as a young woman. While enslaved she experienced a forced migration from the south to California, where she learned that she could petition the California court system for her freedom. Through the landmark Mason v. Smith case “Biddy” claimed her freedom one year before the historic Dread Scott decision.

As a free woman, Mrs. Mason went on to work as a nurse and a midwife. She learned to speak Spanish and delivered hundreds of babies for families of all races. 10 years after claiming her freedom Mrs. Mason purchased her first piece of land in downtown Los Angeles. She grew into wealth and philanthropy, founded the first African Methodist Church in Los Angeles, opened a school for elementary children and so much more.

Mrs. Mason was a true community midwife and represents the potential for a thriving midwifery workforce in California. Through the Bridget “Biddy” Mason Scholarship and Financial Aid Fund will support the legacy and expansion of black midwifery in California.