Isaac Flood (1810-1892) was the second husband of Elizabeth Flood (née Elizabeth Thorn Scott) and the father of George Francis Flood (1857 - ) and Lydia Flood (1862 - 1963) and worked to desegregate schools in Oakland and all of California.
He was born into slavery in South Carolina, but purchased his freedom and moved to Oakland, California in 1853 following the Gold Rush. Working as a laborer and tradesman, marrying Elizabeth, a school teacher from Sacramento who started the first public school for African American children in the state of California in 1855.
After Elizabeth's first husband (Joseph Scott) died, Isaac and Elizabeth married in 1855 and they moved to Brooklyn (now part of Oakland). Elizabeth founded a school for black children in their home. Isaac and Elizabeth helped found the First African Methodist Episcopal Church (then Shiloh AME) in 1858.
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. In part because of their efforts, black schools were closed in 1875 and desegregated schools became the law in California in 1880.
Isaac Flood and Lydia Flood Jackson were both out-spoken advocates for African American civil rights and education. Flood served as secretary on the Education Committee of the Colored Citizens of the State of California and in 1871 successfully petitioned the Oakland Public School Board to admit minority children.
Lydia Flood Jackson was active in many women’s organizations, including the Native Daughter’s Club, Fanny Jackson Coppin Club, and Federation of Women’s Colored Clubs. She served as the Federation of Women’s Colored Clubs’ first legislative chairwoman and advocated for the organization to promote women’s suffrage.
Isaac died in 1892, and he and Elizabeth are buried in 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.
- letter to the editor by Isaac Flood, Pacific Appeal, May 11, 1872
- Address of the Educational Committee, Elevator, May 25, 1872
- death of Isaac Flood, San Francisco Call, November 1, 1892