19th-century civil-rights pioneer in spotlight

Authors of Octavius Catto book to speak at Chesco Historical Society

Screen Shot 2014-02-28 at 8.48.30 PMDaniel R. Biddle and Murray Dubin, authors of the acclaimed biography of 19th-century Philadelphia civil rights pioneer Octavius Catto – Tasting Freedom: Octavius Catto and the Battle for Equality in Civil War America – will discuss Catto’s life, legacy, and milieu on Friday, March 7, at 7 p.m. at the Chester County Historical Society.

Biddle and Dubin will also explain how they went about shaping their seven years of research into a compelling narrative. According to the book jacket, the subject’s background provided a wealth of diverse material: “Octavius Valentine Catto was a second baseman on Philadelphia’s best black baseball team, a teacher at the city’s finest black school, an activist who fought in the state capital and on the streets for equal rights, and an orator who shared the stage with Frederick Douglass. With his murder during an election-day race riot in 1871, the nation lost a civil rights pioneer – one who risked his life a century before the events that took place in Selma and Birmingham.”

The authors were longtime colleagues and friends at the Philadelphia Inquirer. Biddle, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, is currently the paper’s politics editor. Dubin, author of South Philadelphia: Mummers, Memories and the Melrose Diner, worked at the paper for 34 years as a reporter and editor.

Copies of the book will be available for purchase, and reservations are appreciated. Please RSVP by March 5 to 610-692-4800 or rsvp@chestercohistorical.org.

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