When Lydia Flood Jackson died at the age of 101 in 1963, she was the oldest native of Oakland.
She was the daughter of a freed slave, the first Negro to attend an integrated Oakland public school in 1872, and went on to become a leader of the women’s suffrage movement in 1918.
Lydia was born on June 9, 1862, at her family home in Brooklyn Township, now a part of Oakland.
She died on July 8, 1963. Services were held at the First A.M.E. Church in Oakland, California, formerly known as the Shiloh African Methodist Episcopal Church, which her parents helped found in 1858.
Negro Trail Blazers
Her father was Isaac Flood, and her mother was Elizabeth Thorn (Thorne) Scott Flood. They were among the outstanding Negro pioneers of California, according to the historical publication “Negro Trail Blazers of California.”
Her father was born a slave in South Carolina and was freed in 1838, he traveled to California during the Gold Rush, settling in Oakland.
In 1854 her mother founded California’s first Negro School in Sacramento and was the first teacher. She also founded a private school for minority groups in Alameda County in 1858, when Indians, Negroes, and Chinese were not allowed in White public schools. The school was at their home at 1335 East 15th Street in Oakland.
The Flood’s had son George who is believed to be the first African American child born in Alameda County. Elizabeth and Isaac Flood were not only one of the earliest African American families in the Oakland area, but they were also one of the most prominent and progressive.
In 1871 her father, a leader of the Colored Convention, successfully fought to have Negro children admitted to public schools.
The Oakland School Board passed the following resolution:
In 1872 his daughter Lydia became the first student to attend the Swett School (later the Old Bella Vista School). Then she attended night school at Oakland High and later married John William Jackson in 1889.
Activist and Clubwoman
Jackson was a member of the Native Daughter’s Club and the Fannie Jackson Coppin Club for forty-two years. Jackson was also a leader in the California Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs. While a member of the Federation, she on them to demand women’s suffrage. While addressing the organization’s 1918 state convention, she told her audience.
Today we are standing on the threshold of a great era looking into futurity to the mid-day sun of Democracy”Lydia Flood Jackson 1918
Entrepreneur and Inventor
She founded Flood Toilet Creams, a successful West Coast cosmetic business which manufactured toiletries, creams, and perfumes. (I wish I could find more information on this)
Lydia Flood Jackson was honored on her 100th birthday by the City of Oakland as their “oldest living native and daughter of the first Negro school teacher in California.”
- Obituary – Oakland Tribune Jul 10, 1963
- Isaac Flood Dies – Oakland Tribune Nov 1, 1892
- Lydia Flood Jackson – Black Past
- Elizabeth Thorn Scott Flood – Black Past
- Lydia Flood Jackson – Wikipedia
- Colored Conventions – California