One of the most prominent African Americans striving for equality was fatally shot by Whites 145 years ago
Today we honor Octavius V. Catto, renowned as a co-founder of the National Equal Rights League and one of Philadelpia’s most distinguished Black leaders who played a crucial role in the fight against slavery.
Catto was born in Charleston, which still mourns the Charleston Church shooting victims gunned down by white supremacist Dylann Roof on June 17, 2015.
Fortunately, the city is famous not only for that horrific massacre. Charleston can boast its outstanding citizen who became one of the most influential African Americans in the black history.
At that point, Philadelphia was home to America’s largest free-black community and Catto was the one who contributed a lot to its development.
Catto was an outstanding man in many respects. Upon graduating from the Institute for Colored Youth in 1858 he launched his career as assistant to the principal. He was engaged in politics and strove to gain civil liberties for Blacks. During the War he raised a company of Black volunteers to help lead the Union army to victory.
Catto alongside his beautiful fiancee made efforts to gain equal access to public transportation sitting on all-whites street cars.
Catto’s death came at a time of the 15th Amendment’s ratification when he was fatally shot by Frank Kelly, a Democratic Party operative and associate of the Party’s boss on Election Day.
For Whites, the very thought of an educated man interfering with their business was unbearable. They realized that Catto wouldn’t stop fighting to make Black people free and used lethal force to make him stop.
Not a day goes by without black people being somehow oppressed. We become victims of racist police officers, teachers and doctors. We have to struggle every to survive in the world of White privilege. We are less in number but we will go on to exercise our rights until the war on Blacks is over!
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