File #: 030116    Version: 0 Name:
Type: Privileged Resolution Status: ENACTED
File created: 2/20/2003 In control: CITY COUNCIL
On agenda: Final action: 2/20/2003
Title: Honoring the memory of Octavius V. Catto and commending the establishment of the O.V. Catto Memorial Fund.
Sponsors: Councilmember Kenney, Councilmember Nutter, Councilmember Tasco, Councilmember Blackwell, Councilmember Goode, Councilmember DiCicco, Councilmember Ortiz, Councilmember Rizzo, Councilmember Reynolds Brown, Councilmember Miller
Attachments: 1. Resolution No. 03011600.pdf
Honoring the memory of Octavius V. Catto and commending the establishment of the O.V. Catto Memorial Fund.
WHEREAS, Octavius V. Catto, born in 1840 in Philadelphia, was one of our City's most courageous and convincing civil rights leaders of all time; and

WHEREAS, Catto was noted for his scholarship and teaching at the Institute for Colored Youth in Philadelphia (the forerunner of Cheyney University), and was the founder of such prominent institutions as the Banneker Literary Institute, the Equal Rights League and the Pythian Baseball Club, the finest baseball team of its time in the City; and

WHEREAS, Catto was a member of numerous civic, literary, and political groups including the Franklin Institute, the Philadelphia Library Company, the 4th Ward Black Political Club and the Union League Association; and

WHEREAS, Catto was largely responsible for the adoption of the City's "Bill of Rights for Equal Access to Public Transportation," and was an ardent supporter of the Lincoln Administration, the efforts of the Republican Party to improve civil rights, and the struggle to end the scourge of slavery; and

WHEREAS, Catto was a Union Army Major during the Civil War and a leader in recruiting Black troops to fight for their emancipation, and with the assistance of the Union League, helped raise and train eleven regiments of "Colored Troops" from the area; and

WHEREAS, Shortly after Pennsylvania's adoption of the 15th Amendment in 1870 assured Black men the right to vote, Catto worked tirelessly to register Blacks and get them to the polls, despite street violence and murderous riots led by Irish immigrants who were supporters of the Democrats; and

WHEREAS, When Catto went to vote on October 10, 1871, a Democratic Party operative, Frank Kelly, fired two pistol shots into his back, killing him just steps from his home at 8th and South Streets; and

WHEREAS, Catto was given a full military funeral, attracting thousands of mourners of al...

Click here for full text