Elizabeth Thorn Scott Flood (1828 – 1867) was born a free woman in 1828 and educated in Massachusetts. When her son by her late first husband, Joseph Scott, was not allowed into a school in Sacramento, she opened a private school for Black children in 1854.
Elizabeth and Isaac Flood (born into slavery in South Carolina) married in 1855 and moved to Brooklyn (now part of Oakland), where she started another school in their home on East 15th. Elizabeth and Isaac went on to help found the First African Methodist Episcopal church, which eventually took over the school.
Their son, George Francis Flood was born in 1856, and was said to be the first Black baby born in Alameda County. Their daughter, Lydia Flood was born in 1862, and became the first Black student to attend John Swett School in Oakland in 1872. Lydia went on to become active in the movement for women's voting rights.
In 1871, Isaac petitioned the Oakland School Board to accept minority children, based on the passage of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments. In 1872, Brooklyn admitted minorities into its schools, and shortly after the Oakland School Board voted to accept them as well. Integrated schools didn't become the law in California until later, and of course there was still de facto segregation.
Elizabeth died at the age of 39. Elizabeth and Isaac are buried at Mountain View Cemetery. The plot is unmarked, but a docent discovered it when she noticed the name Isaac Flood on an old plot map of the cemetery and did some investigation
Links and References
- Elizabeth Thorn Scott Flood on BlackPast.org
- African American Women of the Old West
- The 19th Century Teacher Who Fought to Give Black Children an Education KQED Arts June 24, 2020