One of Oakland's earliest educators was a woman born in the East but who dramatically changed the racial composition of California schools. Elizabeth Thorne Scott Flood was born free in 1828 in the state of New York. She was educated in New Bedford, Massachusetts, a town known for its political activism. She married Joseph Scott and together they emigrated to California during the Gold Rush and settled in Placerville. Her husband, who worked as a gold miner, died shortly after their arrival, leaving Elizabeth to raise their young son Oliver alone. In the early 1850s she and Oliver moved to Sacramento which had a sizable African American population. When Oliver was barred from attending the local public school, Elizabeth responded by establishing a private school in her home to educate her son and other African American children. This school opened on May 29, 1854. Elizabeth was paid $50 a month by the parents of her pupils. Before long, she was also welcoming Native American and Asian American children into her school.
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