#OctaviusCatto (Feb 22, 1839 – Oct 10, 1871) was a #blackeducator, intellectual, and #civilrights #activist in #Philadelphia. He became principal of male students at the Institute for Colored Youth, where he had also been educated. Born free in Charleston, South Carolina, in a prominent mixed-race family, he moved north as a boy with his family. He became educated and served as a teacher, becoming active in civil rights. As a man, he also became known as a top cricket and baseball player in 19th-century Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
#TheCivilWar increased Catto's activism for abolition and equal rights. He joined with #FrederickDouglass and other black leaders to form a Recruitment Committee to sign up #blackmen to fight for the Union and emancipation. After the #Confederate invasion of Pennsylvania in 1863, #Catto helped raise a company of black volunteers for the state's defense; their help, however, was refused by the staff of Major General Darius N. Couch on the grounds that the men were not authorized to fight. (Couch was later corrected by US Secretary of WarEdwin M. Stanton, but not until the aspiring soldiers had returned to Philadelphia.) Acting with Douglass and the Union League, Catto helped raise eleven regiments of United States Colored Troops in the Philadelphia area. These men were sent to the front and many saw action. Catto was commissioned as a major, but did not fight.
On Friday, April 21, 1865, at the State House in Philadelphia, Catto presented the regimental flag to Lieutenant Colonel Trippe, commander of the 24th United States Colored Troops. An account of Catto's presentation speech was reported the following day in the Christian Recorder.
Catto became a #martyr to #racism, as he was shot and killed in election-day violence in Philadelphia, where ethnic Irish of the #DemocraticParty, which was anti-Reconstruction and had opposed black suffrage, attacked black men to prevent their voting for #Republican candidates. #americanhistory #blackhistory #mlk #payattention