Tag Archives: Black History Month

Ku-Klux in Philadelphia: Death of Octavius V. Catto

Octavius Valentine Catto (February 22, 1839 – October 10, 1871) was a black educator, intellectual, and civil rights 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. As a man, he also became known as a top cricket and baseball player in 19th-century Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Coverage of his murder appeared in the October 21, 1871 issue of The National Standard: A Women’s Suffrage and Temperance Journal

Ku-Klux in Philadelphia: Death of Octavius V. Catto

(The National Standard, October 21, 1871) The death of Octavius V. Catto, one of the victims of the disgraceful riot in Philadelphia on the 10th inst., (the day of the State election in Pennsylvania), is an illustration of the caste spirit not prevailing in our midst, as virulent, if not as potent, as the murderous hatred animating the Ku-Klux banditti of the South. In the city of the North, the classic birth-place of Independence, the city the home of so many philanthropies, and owning so many of the illustrious, the benevolent and loyal-hearted as her children, in open day, guiltless of any offence save that he was of a despised race, a colored man, there was assassinated a patriot, a scholar, a Christian gentleman, whose life, character, and rareness of ability would have adorned any race or time.

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s Women’s Suffrage Collection. We can provide access to fully searchable newspapers by and for women including The Lily (1849-1856), National Citizen and Ballot Box (1878-1881), The Revolution (1868-1872), The New Citizen (1909-1912), The Western Woman Voter (1911-1913), The Woman’s Tribune (1883-1909) and the antisuffrage newspaper, The Remonstrance (1890-1913).


Camp Sherman News - April 10, 1919

A Report on the First Negro Signal Corps (1919)

Prior to this great war there had never been a negro in the signal or engineer branches of the army. When the matter of a colored division came up, there was some doubt as to the ability of the negro to qualify for the highly specialized branches of the service that go to make up an army division.

Our collection, America and World War I: American Military Camp Newspapers, addresses a topic and period that continues to be of the widest interest and importance to scholars, students, and the general public – America in the World War I Era. Camp newspapers make important original source material—much of it written by soldiers for soldiers—readily available for research.


Frederick Douglass Paper 1852-02-12

Cassius M. Clay: “The Blacks Should Get Money”

The Free Negroes and Colonization

At the late Convention of colored people held in Cincinnati, the question of emigration was fully discussed, and a resolution passed against the plan of the African Colonization Society and in favor of emigration to some point on the American continent.

Various letters on this and on other topics of interest to the free blacks, were received from distinguished persons. Senator Wade, of Ohio, advised them to seek the elevation of their race by education, and engaging in respectable occupations. Hon. Horace Mann gave the same advice, and expressed his belief that their condition would one day be improved by the force of their developed capacity for acquiring the highest grades of education and for dignified employments.


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