Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Mason with lawyer Raymond Pace Alexander at the dedication of the Frances Plaza Apartments, 20th and Lombard Streets, Philadelphia, PA, February 12, 1940.
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Standing before a  crowd,   (L to R), Mrs. Mason, daughter Frances, Mr. Mason, son Benjamin Jr. and Raymond Pace Alexander, Phil. Lawyer, counsel for the Masons who introduced them.

Credit: Image donated by Corbis-Bettmann

In 1939, the Benjamin and Pearl Mason provided one of the city's more heart-warming stories of the Great Depression. Living on relief with their two children in a house heated only by the kitchen stove, the Masons won $150,000 in the Irish Hospital Sweepstakes. After paying off their debts, the family, aided by lawyer Raymond Pace Alexander, bought a block of South Philadelphia tenements and rehabbed them with all-black labor to provide low-cost housing for other African-American families.

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