Tasting Freedom: Octavius Catto and the Battle for Equality in Civil War America

Tasting Freedom: Octavius Catto and the Battle for Equality in Civil War America

by Daniel R. Biddle, Murray Dubin


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 Octavius Valentine Catto was an orator who shared stages with Frederick Douglass, a second baseman on Philadelphia’s best black baseball team, a teacher at the city’s finest black school and an activist who fought in the state capital and on the streets for equal rights. With his racially-charged murder, the nation lost a civil rights pioneer—one who risked his life a century before Selma and Birmingham. 

In Tasting Freedom Murray Dubin and Pulitzer Prize winner Dan Biddle painstakingly chronicle the life of this charismatic black leader—a “free” black whose freedom was in name only. Born in the American south, where slavery permeated everyday life, he moved north where he joined the fight to be truly free—free to vote, go to school, ride on streetcars, play baseball and even participate in July 4th celebrations.   

Catto electrified a biracial audience in 1864 when he proclaimed, “There must come a change,” calling on free men and women to act and educate the newly freed slaves. With a group of other African Americans who called themselves a “band of brothers,” they challenged one injustice after another. Tasting Freedom presents the little-known stories of Catto and the men and women who struggled to change America.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781592134663
Publisher: Temple University Press
Publication date: 10/02/2017
Edition description: 1
Pages: 632
Sales rank: 477,926
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

Daniel R. Biddle, the Philadelphia Inquirer's Pennsylvania editor, has worked in nearly every phase of newspaper reporting and editing. His investigative stories on the courts won a Pulitzer Prize and other national awards. He has been a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and has taught at the University of Pennsylvania.  Murray Dubin, author of South Philadelphia: Mummers, Memories and the Melrose Diner, was a reporter and editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer for 34 years before leaving the newspaper in 2005. 

Table of Contents

Introduction “A Hundred O. V. Cattos”
1. Charleston
2. Arm in Arm
3. “Keep the Flame Burning . . .”
4. With Giants
5. Lessons
6. The Irish, the Killers, and Squire McMullen
7. “Arise, Young North”
8. How Much I Yearn to Be a Man”
9. A Chance on the Pavement
10. The Wolf Killers
11. Manhood
12. The Battle for the Streetcars
13. Baseball
14. The Hide of the Rhinoceros
15. Election Day
16. The Venus of the High Trapeze
Epilogue The Legacy

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