Author: wpengine

The Fifteenth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution provided that all male citizens were entitled to vote. In many southern states, the black population was so large and whites were fearful of their participation in the political process. The post-Civil War period during Reconstruction provides many examples how expansion of the franchise with the 15th Amendment also saw partisan and racially motivated efforts to limit African American voting participation. The assassination of Octavius Catto is a Northern example. Political cartoonist, Thomas Nast, frequently produced cartoons about voter suppression as depicted in The Election Before and After illustrates what happened...

Why is it important to understand the use of lynching and other forms of violence following the passage of the 15th Amendment? The assassination of Octavius Catto and three other black men in Philadelphia on Election Day in 1871 was an effort to suppress black votes. The passage of the 15th Amendment led to efforts to try to control and reduce black participation as citizens. Historians broadly agree that lynchings were a common method of social and racial control meant to terrorize black Americans into submission, and into an inferior racial caste position. It was also a weapon against white supporters...

What role did the National Equal Rights League play in the expansion of citizenship rights for northern blacks? The National Equal Rights League and its affiliates like the Pennsylvania Equal Rights League with Octavius Catto worked to get the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments ratified by the states.

What role did the Civil War play in the expansion of citizenship? The Civil War led to the passage of the 14th Amendment? Read more at: Did You Know

What is Jim Crow? The year before Catto's birth, "Jim Crow" became a widely accepted pejorative reference to African Americans. It was popularized by the white minstrel performer, Thomas Dartmouth "Daddy" Rice, who performed in blackface doing mockery minstrel shows, depicting  what was characterized as "authentic" black life.  Blackface became an important performance tradition in the American theater.   By the 1840's, black performers were also performing in blackface.  Frederick Douglass was among the most vocal critics against blackface performance, condemning it as racist and inauthentic of the African American life. However, the practice gained increasing popularity during the 19th century and contributed to the spread of racial stereotypes such as the...

African American newspapers have been important voices for issues impacting the black community. In Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Tribune has been an important vehicle.  Among the oldest political cartoons printed in this paper is this one, which was published in 1910.  It speaks to how Republican "Boss Rule" had not resulted in benefits for the African American community, which loyally voted Republican since the days of Octavius V. Catto.  Catto and his associates had hopes that the Republican party would expand opportunities for blacks. Notable black newspapers of the 19th century were Freedom's Journal (1827–29) (which is considered the first), Colored American (1837–41) by...

en English
X