Who Was Bridgett “Biddy” Mason? – Day 1 of Black History Month 

​From Slave To Freedom

Bridget “Biddy” Mason, born a slave in Mississippi in 1818, achieved financial success that enabled her to support her extended family for generations despite the fact that she was illiterate. In a landmark case she sued her master for their freedom, saved her earnings, invested in real estate, and became a well-known philanthropist in Los Angeles, California. 

Although born in Mississippi, Mason was owned by slaveholders in Georgia and South Carolina before she was returned to Mississippi.  Her last owner, Robert Marion Smith, a Mississippi Mormon convert, followed the call of church leaders to settle in the West.  Mason and her children joined other slaves on Smith’s religious pilgrimage to establish a new Mormon community in what would become Salt Lake City, Utah.  At the time Utah was still part of Mexico

In 1848 30-year-old Mason walked 1,700 miles behind a 300-wagon caravan that eventually arrived in the Holladay-Cottonwood area of the Salt Lake Valley. Along the route west Mason’s responsibilities included setting up and breaking camp, cooking the meals, herding the cattle, and serving as a midwife as well as taking care of her three young daughters aged ten, four, and an infant.

Contribute here to help us keep her  legacy alive

In 1851 Smith and his family and slaves set out in a 150-wagon caravan for San Bernardino, California to establish yet another Mormon community. Ignoring Brigham Young’s warning that slavery was illegal in California, Smith brought Mason and other enslaved people to the new community.  Along the trek Mason met Charles H. and Elizabeth Flake Rowan, free blacks, who urged her to legally contest her slave status once she reached California, a free state.  Mason received additional encouragement by free black friends whom she met in California, Robert and Minnie Owens.

In December 1855 Robert Smith, fearing losing his slaves, decided to move with them to Texas, a slave state. The Owens family had a vested interest in the Mason family as one of their sons was romantically involved with Mason’s 17-year-old daughter.  When Robert Owens told the Los Angeles County Sheriff that slaves were being illegally held, he gathered a posse which including Owens and his sons, other cowboys and vaqueros from the Owens ranch.  The posse apprehended Smith’s wagon train in Cajon Pass, California en route to Texas and prevented him from leaving the state.

Contribute here to help us keep her legacy alive
After spending five years enslaved in a “free” state Bridget Mason challenged Robert Smith for her freedom.  On January 19, 1856 she petitioned the court for freedom for herself and her extended family of 13 women and children. Los Angeles District Judge Benjamin Hayes took three days before handing down his ruling in favor Mason and her extended family, citing California’s 1850 constitution which prohibited slavery. 

Mason and her family moved to Los Angeles where her daughter married the son of Robert and Minnie Owens.  Mason worked as midwife and nurse, saved her money and purchased land in the heart of what is now downtown Los Angeles. Mason also organized First A.M.E. Church, the oldest African American church in the city.  She educated her children and with her wealth became a philanthropist to the entire Los Angeles community.  Bridget “Biddy” Mason died in Los Angeles in 1891.

Sources:
Tricia Martineau Wagner, African American Women of the Old West (Guilford, Connecticut: TwoDot, an imprint of The Globe Pequot Press, 2007); Quintard Taylor, In Search of the Racial Frontier African Americans in the American West 1528-1990 (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1998; Dolores Hayden, The Power of Place: Urban Landscapes as Public History (Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 1995); Jessie Carney Smith, (editor). Epic Lives One Hundred Black Women Who Made a Difference (Detroit: Visible Ink Press, 1993).

Contributor:

Independent Historian

– See more at: http://www.blackpast.org/aaw/mason-bridget-biddy-1818-1891#sthash.y9e7L7e2.dpuf

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TIMs 2016-2020 Oklahoma Mission

Oklahoma Moms Need Your Support

Black Pregnant Mom

It has been a long journey for many mothers here in the state of Oklahoma! Often times I wondered if our mission was taking root in the community as we shifted from place to place, city to city. Then one day I was given a divine message to pack light. Now I could have taken that several different ways. One way could have been to leave everything and follow my passion…

While the other could have meant to take my “light” with me wherever I go. I chose the second. Interpreting that light as my God and my guide. Now here I am, with my lovely Native born Oklahoman husband, and three male children. Watching them play and interact with one another as we go throughout our homeschool day. Managing our process and getting better everyday.

This might sound trivial and out of step of a business owner to post such transparencies.

… But it was transparencies that created this  mission you are reading on our website.

It was passion.

It was advocacy for whole family life.

It was about community.

And now that we are in the best place to “re-launch” our maternal health and wellness campaign that states our message loud, clear and unapologetically. We are 100% sure of our culture and how it relates to childbirth, and breastfeeding, and the disparities right here in the place, we hold residency. It is to no surprise that this is not just an issue here, but across the globe. That is why we need to garner the support of our fellow Oklahoman community to say once and for all… We care that one woman dies every minute during childbirth, yet almost all of these deaths are preventable. Here in the state of Oklahoma we have created a strategy to help reduce that number by 2020.

So What’s Up With TIM

When we began this journey into maternal and child health and wellness, we had only a birds eye view of how deep we would be guided into the community. We knew early on that we wanted to be an effective resource in the natural childbirth community, due to the various circumstances we had faced personally, and where we had been of service per our own expertise, which is in homebirth.

Now we have managed to create dynamic support systems and that offers us authentic relationships that many told us – we should not have privilege to because, we were not “alphabetically qualified.” Even though our experiences, and research, and self-apprenticed learning styles, didn’t measure up with privileged practices.

We are a grassroots social welfare organization with a mind to stand up to corporate and privatized organizations and companies that say the issues in the Black community are too much to resolve. Well this year we will finish with a bang because, we will not stop until we see a shift in the issues of crisis  within our urban and rural communities.

So we are taking deeper breaths.

We are creating broader relationships.

And we are doing it all on a dental floss budget.

Our Why…

One woman dies every minute during childbirth, yet almost all of these deaths are preventable. In 2001, the UN set itself the goal of slashing maternal mortality by 75% by 2015, but it is nowhere near meeting that target. “Surgery of any kind has risk,” and a C-section is, “still the riskiest way to have a baby. “In the US, almost one third of women have that procedure for delivery of their baby.”

 

The statistics on maternal mortality in America tell a shocking story when it comes to African-American women. They are three to four times more likely to die during childbirth than white American women. Dr Bill McCool says that even wealthy black American women have a higher rate of mortality during childbirth than wealthy white women.

Maternal mortality around the world

“People have looked at this from different angles. We know that African-American women tend to have higher blood pressure than the rest of the population, so is there a link there?”JoAnne Fischer, Executive Director of the Maternity Care Coalition, which works with low income women to help them stay healthy during their pregnancies, says: “We do know that there is extraordinary stress involved in racism and in being poor. “”And we know that sometimes this creates hypertension.” Hypertension, obesity and diabetes are all linked, so we have to make sure women start their pregnancies healthy.

“Dr Bill Callaghan, of the CDC, finds that not knowing why African-American women are at greater risk when giving birth has given him and his colleagues’ sleepless nights.” We can say that some of this may be due to socio-economic disparities. “But it does not explain all of it. “And to the extent that we don’t explain racial disparity in pregnancy-related mortality, we’re going to have difficulty making headway into it.” As doctors and US officials try to work out why American women are dying in childbirth, and what can be done to prevent it, Jim Scythes is still mourning his wife Valerie, who was all too briefly a mother.

To read more click here

Our Solution For Shifting The Rates In Oklahoma

In order for us to see a difference we need to shift the way we approach the childbirth community. Together using our history with #GivingTuesday global campaign we can make a big difference. Particularly in the African American community and others of color. The mindset regarding traditional childbirth has been diminished, with the practice of new wave technology and expensive research campaigns that warrant no solution. These outcomes are not because women want to die or want their children to die. These outcomes are from a deep rooted seed in the neurological DNA of generations of post traumatic stress as it relates to the Black community and slavery.

This type of cognitive dissonance is the paramount to our childbearing community.  It is our goal to build a committee or coalition of nonprofits, small businesses, and other community leaders to organize a #GivingTuesday movement in materno-toxic areas in the city and surrounding areas. There has been an assault on the womb of all women. This is at a very social and scientific disadvantage. In the state of Oklahoma, there is a core network of privileged, white led childbirth organizations that have not been able to penetrate the community of color. This adversity adds no value to the economic, social, and health care advantages that impacts the way women are giving birth. These include language and cultural barriers. This makes it extremely difficult to make clear and directed moves to support the agenda of the Maternal Mortality Review and Office of Minority Health in the state of Oklahoma.

It is every man’s obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it.”  – Albert Einstein

This is where our program offers a solution because, we have all taken the same route of creation. It is our obligation to put back into the world the equivalence of the best birth outcomes in communities that need it the most. So buy aligning with these organizations and offering women and men of color culturally competent, safe, evidence based education to support their community in childbirth, as certified birth work consultants, educators, and practitioners. Our networks of culturally centered organizations are ready and prepared to be added to our 2016 training calendar to add diversity to the childbirth community. You can help us make this possible in a variety of ways. First we have to determine why you should get involved.

WHY GET INVOLVED…

Purpose: To sensitize the community to the myriad problems that the childbirth community faces in the state of Oklahoma and the world today and motivate them to embrace a Cause that is meaningful to them.
Objectives: To discuss the basic necessities of life, or what is needed to be a part of a safe,
secure, and strong community.

To raise awareness about the most pressing issues, problems and concerns facing people around the globe – and at home regarding childbirth.

Running Question: WHAT IS THE PRIVILEDGE?

Investigate the idea of “privilege” in order to raise awareness about the way other populations DO and DO NOT experience privilege in our diverse communities. By having an elicit conversation about privilege we can get to the root of the cause, thus formulating a strategy to shift the image of disparity in childbirth, with RADICAL Change!

WHEN TO TAKE ACTION

In order to be effective we must take action now. That means to embrace the cause and start raising awareness and mobilize a core collective who is charged to make a difference.

Conclusion

We are a 100% parent led organization, by a husband and wife team of grassroots social entrepreneurs. We strive to maintain a free thinking environment that supports our artistic passions and goals to build our social welfare organization, The InTune Mother, LLC. And because we do everything from home. (i.e.) Home-birth, Home-school, and even work-from-home online, we really value our family life. We enjoy traveling, performing arts, and quality time with our 3 sons. The fact that we network for a living, is an experience that we aim to share with our core group of 3000 individuals across the globe. We dream in color and often remember the visions vividly. We set our intentions, these become our goals and we believe in our power to see them manifest. So stay connected to our website and let us know if we inspired you with any of our content… Also feel free to gift us with a colorful DONATION in support to keep our site going because we are…

Rebirthing Mother Nature’s Undisturbed Intent…

Get Involved With TIM

Radical Birthwork as an Act of Resistance

Midwives play an important role in healthy outcomes for mother and infant. As a woman’s primary health provider, midwives have traditionally cared for all aspects of a woman’s reproductive well-being. Many of us are not aware or have been kept unaware that midwives are an option and, in many cases, a much more holistic and compassionate one. In African-American communities, the midwife is one category of healer who survived the Middle Passage. In this country, they were the primary go-to person for both enslaved African women and their white mistresses. They had the knowledge of herbs and traditional healing methods and also mothered the mother….

 

Read the entire article here ->Radical Birthwork as an Act of Resistance.

Emergency Childbirth Plan

When Bad Weather Moves In On Your Home Birth

What would you do if you lost power during immobilizing weather? More than that… What would you do if you are planning to have a home birth and severe weather approaches? Well let’s discuss how to Birth Like A Boss and beat the bad weather blues…

First off, take a deep breath. Get focused and realize that the baby is going to be born when he or she is ready. The baby is not prejudice to when and where… but, sometimes we are. So when we identify with the power of childbirth, we can take control over the uncontrollable, and focus on the goal to have a successful birth outcome that is clothed with the confidence of momma magic.

Where Is My Midwife?

Where's_My_Midwife

Be Empowered

When the weather has caused roads to close and the baby calls to your attention that he/she is ready to arrive, you need to call on your inner midwife. First, know that plenty of women have given birth in more organic environments. Second, be mindful that electrical power has nothing on the power of a birthing mother and the coming of her baby. Third, trust that the spirit of motherhood is with you and your approaching baby.

Be Prepared

Moms should have their birth kits ordered no later than 28 weeks when planning a homebirth, this way you can be assured that you have the basics covered. Along with making sure that you have access to your midwife even if it is over the phone. Always have your cell phone battery charged and accessible. Also have your emergency plan together. This is a plus. Especially if you have to freestyle the birth. Meaning that you are not assisted by the midwife or birth companion you chose. Having these few simple things in order can alleviate common fears and empower any mom through the magical journey into motherhood.

For more information on what a midwife is and how to find one that suits your needs CLICK HERE to get involved in the maternal magic of childbirth.

MELs (Men of Extraordinary Leadership): “A Knight In Shining Armor”

A man has endless opportunities to encounter elevation of  his being in a lifetime… The opportunity to completely involve himself ~from conception, through birth, and on into the life and creation of his families seed may very well be the most empowering and rewarding encounter! 

The time of birth is one of the most opportune times for a man and a woman to share creation that only the two of them together could have made. A time when seeing the physical manifestation of what you two can do together truly overshadows any indifference that you may have shared prior to or after this moment. A woman can look at her man and see the strength and security that he gives her; the protection she feels giving her reason for recreating him, eternal life that only she could grant her mate (THIS child). A man can look at his woman and see the magnanimity that a woman has when she is one with nature, a respect for the vessel that she was made to be in delivering life… the worlds greatest gift to them… creation!

Seeing your child born in the proper environment has the ability to make you view every woman you know and meet with a purpose for being… and raise the question of why doesn’t every couple or family get to feel this very super-heroesque empowerment that comes along with this experience. The answer to that is very complex, but also very simple. The evolution that comes with having children can make or break the strongest of spirits. I’ve seen the most irresponsible people become model parents once they paused the chaos and really divulged themselves into the change that was embarking on their lives and focused on the empowerment that creating life can provide one with. Unfortunately, I’ve seen the exact opposite a very strong spirit broken down and beaten because they fought against the change and wanted to hold on to their old selves in ways that conflicted even though they knew the value of what evolution of creating life can do for one’s being. Childbirth is probably the biggest life altering event that a person can go through, this is why when the village(family) is a strong unit the pregnancy and birth itself can yield a renewing  of spirit and soul that is almost impossible to duplicate. The most invigorated  of the family will of course be the creators ‘Mom and Dad’.

 

Creating life and contributing to the existence of our species is one of the highest forms of living in the image of ‘The Most High… God’ our creator that we can accomplish. ~ VoiceMEL

Mother Earth

 As the Father of all creation implants the seed of all that lives into Mother Earth, and watches the seed grow into whatever it was meant to become… on goes the existence of all living things on this planet (as well as I’m sure the universe  for that matter, but that’s to be con’t in a different blog…). This is the same exhilaration that parents should be able to become one with. As the males(MELs)  in this dynamic event it becomes our responsibility in a sense to make sure that this happens. The power that men have in the birth may not seem like much when thinking on it physically or even mentally by what history teaches us on our position or role in this process. In all actuality the typical role that the male has been given could not be more inaccurate from what helps the process of childbirth to be a beautiful memory/experience. The old school wait in the waiting room pacing the floor or the focal point of hate and frustration that the mother belittles and abuses with fault for doing this to her, is quickly becoming extinct. A great article that I recently read covered this subject matter extensively at belly belly.com … check it out!

 

Men are becoming more aware and knowledgeable about what their encouragement and support can mean to their women  when preparing for the birth and going through the whole process together. A woman will naturally feel a certain type of appreciation to the person who held their hand and encouraged them through surges or labour pains. Even the little things like giving ice chips or messages when and where they are needed can go a long way for the comfort of the mother… who better to be the recipient of her appreciation than her mate. Dr. Robert A. Bradley author of ” Husband-Coached Childbirth” creator of The Bradley Method of natural childbirth, was known for being one of (if not) the first physicians in a hospital to implement these tactics as he also introduced natural drug-free childbirth into the hospitals.  This type of good nature was not back then in the 70’s and still to this day of common practice, but the more knowledge that the family has the more power.

Like for instance, a father signs a form in the midst of all that lovely paperwork that is given to a family when having a baby at the hospital that says he will make the decisions in the delivery room because the mother will be in a delusional state of mind because of the drugs. In which of course she signs the form waiving her rights at that time as well. The part that makes this go bad is when the father is not made aware of all the power that he has in saying what happens and what doesn’t, usually due to the lack of education on the whole process of the birth. What I will say to solve these issues is study together and separately, gather all the knowledge you can about this process and make a birth plan… most of all stick to the plan.

Homebirthing was the option that allowed my family to be (without conflict) in control of our choices and carry-out our births as we planned them… 

It wasn’t a common practice at all in either of our families to birth at home, in fact barely anyone that we knew had ever even thought about doing it. After a few terrible Doctor visits with our first pregnancy and the research that we performed was at a confident level we made the homebirth decision and continued to build our ideal birth as we saw fit. The studying was  more driven by the Mrs of course, but I was all in willing to learn all that I could as well as share with her anything that I found would add value to our knowledge. We created our birth chamber together, went to the hypnobirthing classes together, all the midwife visits together, and really focused on the task at hand together… I wanted mine to know that I would be prepared to the fullest and that she could count on me the whole way for whatever she needed. This carried us on to be able to deliver our second and third sons without medical assistance( also another blog soon to come… Lol).

Preparation is the key, and men we have to know that the preparation is as much on us as it is on the woman… Making her assured of this and confident that you will be all the support and reassurance she needs before, during, and after the birth will set smooths sails going in and coming out… Be her knight in shining armor, now if no other time in life… and guaranteed  your family will reap the treasure of your acts.

superman

Our Moment Of Truth

The InTune Mother Project Wants Normal, Healthy Childbirth for Women & Families

 

According to research from the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM), many women are not having important conversations with their healthcare providers about how to maintain their health during pregnancy (62%) or about preparing for motherhood (80%). In fact, ACNM’s survey shows a major gap in what women say they want from their healthcare and what women are getting across a spectrum of health needs.

 

To improve the dialogue, The InTune Mother Project is excited to support Our Moment of Truth™: A New Understanding of Midwifery Care. Through this national campaign, ACNM aims to raise the bar for women’s health and re-introduce midwives and midwifery care as important options that should be the norm for women’s health care services in the United States.

 

Midwives are critically important in providing care to women from adolescence to beyond menopause, but their expert knowledge of women’s health is often overlooked. Even though the general public often associates midwives exclusively with maternity care, many women visit a midwife for a range of services before and after pregnancy. This is just one of the many facts that Our Moment of Truth™ aims to share.

 

The InTune Mother Project has already begun to spread the word by: sharing our story; posting information on our social media channels; and taking the Your Health Promise pledge at www.ourmomentoftruth.com. We hope that you too will consider getting involved in this important initiative to inspire women across the country to become active decision makers in their health care.

 

Visit the Our Moment of Truth™ Web site for more information and an overview of survey findings. Or leave a comment to share your moment of truth related to women’s health care and/or midwifery.