"Though born into slavery Biddy Mason gained freedom for herself and her children in 1856. Only ten years later she had saved enough money to purchase property, making her the first African American women to own land in Los Angeles. A nurse and midwife by profession, she helped found the first elementary school for African American children in Los Angeles."
Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin (1842 – 1924) was an African American publisher, journalist, civil rights leader, suffragist and the founder and editor of Women’s Era, the first journal written by and for African American women. Together with her husband George Lewis Ruffin, Josephine worked to recruit black soldiers to the Union cause during the Civil War and to support the men in the field.