Maps & Sites
There are many locations in the Philadelphia region that are part of the Catto story and Martin Luther King. Some are places where Catto lived, worked and walked the streets. Others are places that are commemorative of both men. This section provides a window into locations, past and present specific to Catto. Where possible historical images at or near Catto’s time are used to illustrate location. This provides an opportunity for this resource to be used the navigate the Philadelphia region and compare the past to the present. In addition, the Lessons Plans and Resource section of the web portal expands out locations to Martin Luther King and can help one to explore, teach and learn about the intersection of the two civil rights narratives, linking the 19th Century to the 20th Century.
The presentations here reflect the collaborative work of Amy Cohen, Education Director at History Making Productions, and her students in a Temple University social studies methods class with the Catto Education Initiative. Their participation is noted in narratives at the locations they worked on. Selected educational activities created from their work are incorporated throughout the Catto education portal, but specifically in Lesson Plans and Resources.
The inventory here also includes several schools that are connected to the Catto story, either because he attended them, they were named for him, or names for significant individuals in the Catto historical narrative. We’ve included these, because schools are important public monuments and can be a way to engage students and the public with civic issues. In Catto’s case, there are no public schools in Philadelphia bearing his name. The last to bear his name was the Catto Disciplinary School until it closed sometime in the 1980’s and the building reopened as the E. S. Miller Remedial/Disciplinary School.
Individuals interested in participating as volunteer contributors to expand the storytelling for Catto related civil rights sites, can send a request to:
Lincoln, the Emancipator, Monument
Kelly Drive at Poplar
Contributor: Alex Coady, Temple University Social Studies Pre-Service Teacher The dedication of this monument in Fairmount Park, honoring Abraham Lincoln, was one of the last grand events Catto attended before his assassination. The dedication was attended by a large outpouring of 50,000 people, including military groups of which Catto was among. He led his 12th Regiment […]
Catto Memorial at City Hall
Philadelphia City Hall
Branly Cadet’s vision was to create a design in dialogue with Philadelphia’s City Hall, a prominent and historically significant civic landmark in the middle of Broad Street. The memorial immerses viewers in a visual drama, celebrating and presenting O. V. Catto’s courage and service to Philadelphia, our State (Pennsylvania) and the nation. His young life […]
Jefferson Street Grounds
1400 N. 26th St.
Jefferson Street Grounds and later Athletic Park hosted several monumental games. Early civil rights activist, Octavius Catto, captained the Pythians against the white Olympic ball club in 1869 —the first interracial baseball game.
First African Presbyterian Church
S. 7th St. & Bainbridge St.
First African Presbyterian Church, the nation’s oldest African American Presbyterian Church, located in Philadelphia’s Old City was founded in 1807 by formerly enslaved John Gloucester. This church is the fourth of the first five early African American churches founded in the city of Philadelphia. Among its most prominent and most remembered pastors is Rev. William T. […]
O.V. Catto Community Family School
3100 Westfield Ave. Camden, New Jersey
This is the only public school in the Greater Philadelphia region bearing O.V. Catto’s name today . The school’s mission reflects the teaching philosophy of Octavius V. Catto in many ways. It seeks to work in partnership with families and the community to provide a safe, academically rigorous, engaging learning environment that will ensure students are college […]
Morton McMichael School
3543 Fairmount Ave, Philadelphia, PA, USA
Named for Morton McMichael a founding member of the Union League of Philadelphia and the League’s 4th president. After the Civil war, McMichael was elected the first Republican Mayor of Philadelphia, serving from 1866 through 1869. McMichael presented Octavius Catto, Robert Purvis, Frederick Douglass, Robert Forten and others at the Union League with a banner honoring […]
General Louis Wagner Junior High School
1701 W Chelten Ave, Philadelphia, PA, USA
Catto and General Louis Wagner became colleagues and friends working on United States Colored Troops (USCT) recruitment. Wagner volunteered to be commander of Camp William Penn, where he oversaw the training of over 11,000 African American troops for the Civil War. It was during this time that Wagner encouraged Catto to join the Pennsylvania National Guard, […]
Market St. & N. 12th, philadelphia
National Hall was one of the most used gathering and civic halls in Philadelphia. It was a frequent sight for political and abolition meetings during Catto’s time. At National Hall one of the largest memorials was held for Catto. The building is no longer standing.
USCT Recruitment Site
Chestnut & S. 12th
1210 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia was originally the headquarters and recruiting station of The Supervisory Committee for the Enlistment of Colored Troops and later for The Free Military School for Applicants for the Command of Colored Troops. The temporary Union League clubhouse was three doors to the right at 1216 Chestnut Street.
52 Chestnut St.
Independence Hall was a sacred site among African Americans in Philadelphia. It was an important place of remembrance of the nation’s founding, aspirational principles. In 1863 here at a ceremony, Catto presented the USCT 24th Regiment its regimental flag, designed by David Bustill Bowser.
Camp William Penn
7322 Sycamore Ave.
Author: Amy Cohen, Education Director, History Making Productions In June of 1863, a call went out for volunteers to serve in the Union Army because Confederate forces were moving toward Pennsylvania. Though Congress had authorized the enlistment of black soldiers in July of 1862, it took the Emancipation Proclamation and mounting Northern losses to initiate […]
O.V. Catto Lodge
16th and Fitzwater
Contributor: Michael Corona, Temple University Social Studies Pre-Service Teacher The Improved Benevolent Protective Order of Elks of the World (IBPOEW) was established in 1897. the Order is an African American fraternal order modeled on the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, a white established fraternal order organized in 1868 in New York City. IBPOEW began the white organization […]
O.V. Catto Disciplinary School
4125 Ludlow Street, Philadelphia, PA, USA
Contributor: Julius Klinger, Temple University Social Studies Pre-Service 4125 Ludlow Street in West Philadelphia is now occupied by the Paul Robeson High School for Human Services. However, the location was previously the O.V. Catto Disciplinary School. Sometime in the 1980s, the Catto school relocated to 43rd and Westminster Streets, and its name was changed to […]
St. Thomas African Episcopal Church
St James St & S 5th St Philadelphia, PA 19106 USA
Contributor: Jake Prusch, Temple University Social Studies, Pre-Service Teacher The African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas was founded in Philadelphia in 1792, in response to growing racial tensions and discrimination at St. George’s Methodist Church, by Absalom Jones, a lay Methodist preacher. In 1802, Jones was ordained by Episcopal Bishop William White, making him the […]
Snyder Ave & S 19th St
Contributor: Francesco Truscia, Temple University Social Studies Pre-Service Teacher On February 14, 1849, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania granted the incorporation of Lebanon Cemetery to a group of Philadelphian African Americans led by Jacob White, Sr. The group included leaders and entrepreneurs in Philadelphia’s free black community, among them were members of the Bustill family including artist […]
1434 Springfield Road, Darby, PA 19023, USA
Eden Cemetery became the final resting place for Octavius Catto, when Lebanon Cemetery closed in 1903. After some litigation, a charter was granted by the State of Pennsylvania on June 20, 1902 for the establishment of a not for profit cemetery company for the burial of African Americans. Fifty-three acres of beautiful rolling hills and level […]
The Union League of Philadelphia
140 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA, USA
The Union League of Philadelphia was founded in 1862 as a patriotic society to support the Union cause and the policies of Abraham Lincoln. It laid the philosophical foundation for other Union Leagues and areas across a nation torn by the Civil War. The original League Club House was located at 1208 Chestnut Street. In 1863, it sponsored […]
Franklin Institute, 1824-1932
15 South 7th Street, Philadelphia, PA, USA
Contributor: Rachel Schy, Temple University Social Studies Pre-Service Teacher In the early 19th Century Philadelphia was known as the “Athens of America”, where many learning institutions were formed building off of the American Philosophical Society’s concept for “Promoting Useful Knowledge”. Among these institutions was the Franklin Institute of the State of Pennsylvania for the Promotion of […]
Lombard Street Colored School
South 6th Street & Lombard
Contributor: Joseph Swadlow, Temple University Social Studies Pre-Service Teacher As a child, Octavius Catto’s father enrolled him in the Lombard Street Colored School, the only public grammar schools for blacks in Philadelphia. It was there that he met Jacob White, Jr, who became is closest friend and fellow social justice activist, before they both moved […]
Vaux Primary School
North 5th Street & Fairmount, Philadelphia, PA, USA
Contributor: Katherine Finley, Temple University Social Studies Pre-Service Teacher “We [the students at the Institute of the Colored Youth] are nevertheless preparing ourselves usefully for a future day, when citizenship in our country will be based on manhood and not on color.” – Jacob White, Jr. 1855 I do not wish to seem proud of […]
The Catto Family’s Philadelphia Home
107 N 5th St, Philadelphia, PA, USA
Contributor: Christiana Nicoloudakis, Temple University Social Studies Pre-Service Teacher In April of 1848, William Catto packed up his family and ran for the Maryland/ Pennsylvania border. The reason: he and his family were fleeing arrest. Awaiting a ship in Maryland to take him to Liberia where he was to be a missionary, William Catto got […]
Institute for Colored Youth: 1866-1902
9th St & Bainbridge St, Philadelphia, PA, USA
Contributors: Patrick Press and Claire Desio, Temple University Social Studies Pre-Service Teachers The Institute for Colored Youth was founded in 1837 by Richard Humphreys, a Quaker philanthropist. Humphreys bequeathed $10,000 to design and establish a school to educate people of African descent. For several years, the school experimented with agricultural and industrial education, as well […]
Catto’s Last Residence
814 South St, Philadelphia, PA, USA
Contributor: Masaki Bolte, Temple University Social Studies Pre-Service Teacher At the time of his death, Catto was living in this boarding house at 814 South Street with eight people. The owners of the home were Thomas and Anna Bundy. The 1870 U.S. Census shows that the tenants were: William and Anna Proctor, who were most […]