We could bemoan the fact that only now—in 2017—is Philadelphia unveiling the first ever public statue honoring a solo African American, Octavius V. Catto. Or the fact that this statue of the greatest civil rights leader in post-Civil War Philly will still get less attention than the former Mayor across the street from City Hall, or the fictional boxer outside the Philadelphia Art Museum. Or the fact that his fiance, Caroline LeCount, herself a Civil Rights hero, doesn’t have a statue of her own. (She should.)
Or: We can take a minute to celebrate this milestone in Philadelphia, an honor to the man whose mission was simple—”that there shall be no unmanly quibbles about entrusting to [the black man] any position of honor or profit for which his attainments may fit him”—but whose death was violent nonetheless.
For a complete look at Catto’s life and work, watch Octavius V. Catto: A Legacy for the 21st Century, from Sam Katz’s History Making Production.
Header Photo: Wikimedia