Biddy Mason : Force Of A Feather

Aug 26, 2007
Central Florida
Here is a book about this lady...


While pursuing another writing project, Seattle author Demaratus discovered the life story of Biddy Mason, a former slave who became a wealthy property owner and philanthropist. Unsatisfied with the details of Mason's life as documented at a Los Angeles exhibit, Demaratus began this retelling of Mason's story. Mason's biography turns out also to be inextricably linked to the story of her owner, Robert M. Smith, and his family, Southerners who converted to Mormonism and in 1848 migrated from Mississippi to California with their fellow church members and slaves. In California, a writ of habeas corpus was filed against Smith when he decided to move his family and slaves from California, a nonslaveholding state, to Texas, a slaveholding state. Benjamin Hayes, the judge who presided over the high-profile trial that followed, also figures prominently in the narrative, as do several episodes of author Demaratus's personal life. The result is an unharmonious combination of personal narrative and historiography littered with sentimentalism and unsubstantiated analysis. Mason, Smith, and Hayes deserve a more objective and credible telling of the events that caused their lives to intersect. Suitable for California and Mormon history collections. Sherri Barnes, Univ. of California at Santa Barbara Lib.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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