Black Ancestors : Octavius Catto

Discussion in 'Honoring Black Ancestors' started by cherryblossom, Feb 18, 2011.

  1. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    'The Forgotten Hero' Of The Civil Rights Movement
    October 24, 2010

    Tasting Freedom: Octavius Catto And The Battle For Equality In Civil War America
    By Daniel R. Biddle and Murray Dubin


    A century before the civil rights protests in Selma and Birmingham, a 27-year-old African-American named Octavius Catto led the fight to desegregate Philadelphia's horse-drawn streetcars.

    He did it in 1866 with the help of other prominent activists, including Lucretia Mott and Frederick Douglass. Catto raised all-black regiments to fight in the Civil War; he pushed for black voting rights; and he started an all-black baseball team — all before the age of 32.

    And if you visit Octavius Catto's grave at Eden Cemetery, just outside Philadelphia, his epitaph reads: "The Forgotten Hero"

    It was that forgotten history that prompted two reporters, Dan Biddle and Murray Dubin, to dig deeper. They talked to NPR's Guy Raz about their new book, Tasting Freedom: Octavius Catto and the Battle for Equality in Civil War America.

    Early Beginnings

    Catto was born in Charleston, S.C., on Feb. 22, 1839. His mother, Sarah Isabella Cain, was a descendant of a prominent free mixed-race family. His father had been a slave millwright in South Carolina; after being freed, he was ordained as a Presbyterian minister and ultimately became a leader in the black church.

    The Catto family moved north to Philadelphia when Octavius was about 5. There, he stood out as a star student. He graduated in 1858 as valedictorian of the Institute for Colored Youth, which later became Cheney University, a historically black college......

    .
    ....His final cause was voting rights for blacks. With the passage of the 15th Amendment in 1870, African-Americans were enfranchised, but there were many ways people tried to prevent them from exercising that right.

    Catto worked tirelessly to help black people in Philadelphia register to vote for the 1871 election.

    "It [was] anticipated that just about every black man that is going to vote is going to vote Republican," Dubin says. "The white Democrats are well aware of this and felt skunked about how many black men had gotten out to vote in 1870 ... and it was clear that they weren't going to let that happen again."

    The violence began the night before the election. Gangs of white thugs went to black neighborhoods to discourage residents from voting and murdered several black men. Catto was also a target.

    "You have to understand, Catto was a very well-known guy — everyone knows who he is. He's a jock, he's a political figure, he speaks publicly. So whites and blacks know who he is. He cannot walk down the street unnoticed," Biddle says.

    Catto was walking home, near his front door, and was confronted by Frank Kelly, a Democratic Party operative and associate of the party's boss.

    Kelly was armed, Catto was not — and soon, he was shot dead.....




    COMPLETE ARTICLE HERE: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130722484
     
  2. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    Octavius Catto was an African-American Republican civil rights activist. Born to a freed slave in Charleston, he moved to Philadelphia as a child. After the Civil War, Catto joined the Pennsylvania state militia, with the rank of major.

    Catto co-founded the National Equal Rights League and was instrumental in Pennsylvania's ratification of the 15th Amendment, which extended voting rights to African-Americans. Many Democrats resented him for it, and on Election Day in 1871, a crony of the city's Democratic Party boss gunned down Octavius Catto as he walked home from voting.



    Read more: http://www.gop.com/index.php/issues/heroes/octavius_catto/#ixzz1ELKsno6R
     
  3. Ikoro

    Ikoro Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    .... sigh.

    We are honoured to learn of his existence, struggle and subsequent death.

    But it really gets me on the edge to be reading about how so many random ancestors (and peers) just get shot down or straight 'terminated' by white individuals, their collectives or their systems.

    Not to think of the worst stories, which I personally believe are the ones we will never hear (except for during ancestral communication) because they were never recorded.

    How do we not distrust, stay weary of and second-guess these people. Seriously, Afrikans everywhere we are should just learn this - and learn it WELL. Watch the ofay and what he do, and don't trust him without good reason.

    Does a woman who has been raped just TRUST men again, and does anyone expect her to?

    Have mercy... look at this Brother, just killed like that. HUH?!

    :'(

    One,

    - Ikoro