Civil Rights Resources


  • Tasting Freedom: Octavius Catto and the Battle for Equality in Civil War America, Daniel R. Biddle and Murray Durbin, Temple University Press, 2010

“Catto and many other black Philadelphians who lived during this period contributed immensely to the greatness of our nation. Their stories were intentionally left out of the history books. It’s long past time those stories were told. Americans can learn about them by visiting Catto’s statue and reading Tasting Freedom.”
Jim Kenney, Mayor of Philadelphia



  • The Philadelphia Negro: A Social Study, W.E.B. DuBois. Introduction by Elija Anderson, University of Pennsylvania Press, reprint 1995 (paperback). This reprint does not include DuBois’ map.

“What made Du Bois’s study remarkable in its day was its rejection of prevailing assumptions of inherent racial differences, thus bearing on issues much wider than those indicated by its title. It is also notable as a thoroughly modern piece of social research. The problems faced by Philadelphia’s blacks, he argued, had nothing to do with their supposed racial proclivities, but derived from the way they had been treated in the past and their relegation in the present to the most menial and lowest-paying jobs.”—Times Literary Supplement


  • Inherently Unequal: The Betrayal of Equal Rights by the Supreme Court, 1865-1903, Lawrence Goldstone. Walker Publishing Company, New York, 2011.

“Lawrence Goldstone’s brilliantly written book traces the post-Reconstruction Supreme Court’s slow strangulation of equal rights for African Americans…As Goldstone shows us, Lincoln’s great legacy was cynically dismantled by the officeholders best to protect it.” —Larry J. Sabato, Director of the Center for Politics, University of Virginia and author of A More Perfect Constitution.


Resource Suggestions at The Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection at Temple University

                                                          Prepared by Aslaku Berhanu, Librarian


  • Ballard, Allen B. One More Day’s Journey: a Story of a Family and a People. New York: McGrow-Hill, 1984.
  • Biddle, Daniel R., and Murray Dubin. “The Forgotten Hero,” Philadelphia. New York: Garland Publishing, 1987. Inquirer, 5 July 2003.
  • Catto, Octavius V. Our Alma mater: an Address Delivered at Concert Hall on the occasion of the Twelfth Annual Commencement of the Institute for Colored Youth, May 10th, 1864. Philadelphia: C. Sherman,1864. Cohen, Amy. Envisioning freedom: teachers resource. Philadelphia, PA: Published by the Moonstone Press, 2015.  Coppin, Fanny Jackson. Reminiscences of school life, and hints on teaching. Philadelphia, PA: African Methodist Episcopal Book Concern, 1913.
  • Du Bois, W.E.B. The Philadelphia Negro: a Social Study. Philadelphia: Published by the University of Pennsylvania, 1899.
  • Frank, H. Taylor. Philadelphia in the Civil War, 1861-1865. Philadelphia, PA: The City, 1913.
  • Glenn, Michael T. The Integration of Sports. 2005
  • Institute for Colored Youth. Objects of the Institute of Colored Youth, with a list of the Officers and Students, and the Annual Report of the Board of Managers. Philadelphia, PA: Ringwalt & Brown, Steam-Power Book and Job Printers, 1865.
  • Lane, Roger. Roots of Violence in Black Philadelphia, 1860-1900. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1986.
  • Lane, Roger. William Dorsey’s Philadelphia and Ours: on the Past and Future of the Black City in America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.
  • Price, Edward. “The Black Voting Rights Issues in Pennsylvania, 1780-1900.” The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography (July 1976): 356-373. Rally around the flag!: grand presentation of colors to Post 27, Grand Army of the Republic, C.W. Lincoln Association of Philadelphia will present to Post 27, G.A.R. a stand of national colors, Monday evening, Sept. 21, 1868, at Liberty Hall, Lombard St. below Eighth. Presentation of colors on behalf of C.W. Lincoln Association, by Prof. O.V. Catto … Philadelphia: Stockdale Printer,1868. Program.
  • Saunders, John A. 100 Years after Emancipation: History of the Philadelphia Negro 1787 to 1963. Philadelphia, PA, 1964.
  • Scott, Donald. Camp William Penn, 1863-1865. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Military History, 2012.
  • Silcox, Harry C. “Nineteenth-Century Philadelphia Black Militant: Octavius V. Catto (1839–1871),” in African Americans in Pennsylvania: Shifting Historical Perspectives, eds. Joe William Trotter Jr. and Eric Ledell Smith. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press …, 1997.
  • Willis, Arthur C., Cecil’s City: A History of Blacks in Philadelphia 1638-1979, Carlton Press 1989.
  • Newspapers: Philadelphia Inquirer and Public Ledger, October 11-17, 1871

Archival resources about Catto are also in the archives of African Episcopal Church of Saint Thomas; and at collections inthe Library Company of Philadelphia and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.


  • Branch, Taylor. Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954–1963. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1988.
  • Branch, Taylor. Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years, 1963–1965. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1998.
  • Branch, Taylor. At Canaan’s Edge: America in the King Years, 1965–1968. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2006.
  • Eskew, Glenn T. But for Birmingham: The Local and National Movements in the Civil Rights Struggle. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998. Comprehensive account of the 1963 Birmingham campaign.
  • Fairclough, Adam. Martin Luther King, Jr. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1995.
  • Fairclough, Adam. To Redeem the Soul of America: The Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Martin Luther King, Jr. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1987.
  • Garrow, David J. Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. New York: William Morrow, 1986.
  • Hampton, Harry. Voices of freedom: An Oral History of the Civil Rights Movement from the 1950s through the 1980s. New York: Bantam Books, 1991.
  • King, Martin Luther, Jr. The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. Edited by Clayborne Carson. New York: IPM in association with Warner Books, 1998.
  • King, Martin Luther, Jr. The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr. 7 vols. Senior editor, Clayborne Carson; volume editors, Ralph E. Luker and Penny A. Russell; advisory editor, Louis R. Harlan. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992–2007. The most important published collection of primary sources.
  • King, Martin Luther, Jr. Stride toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story. New York: Harper, 1958. King’s account of the Montgomery bus boycott.
  • King, Martin Luther, Jr. A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr. Edited by James Melvin Washington. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1991.
  • King, Martin Luther, Jr. The Trumpet of Conscience. New York: Harper and Row, 1968.
  • King, Martin Luther, Jr. Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? New York: Harper & Row, 1967. Selection of essays and speeches on the racial crisis of the mid-1960s.
  • Kirk, John A., ed. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Civil Rights Movement: Controversies and Debates. Basingstoke, U.K., and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.
  • Lewis, David Levering. King: A Critical Biography. New York: Praeger, 1970.
  • Ling, Peter J. Martin Luther King, Jr. London and New York: Routledge, 2002. Highlights King’s moral leadership in the years after 1965.
  • McKnight, Gerald D. The Last Crusade: Martin Luther King, Jr., the FBI, and the Poor People’s Campaign. Boulder, Colo.: Westview, 1998. Focuses on King’s social and economic radicalism after 1965.
  • Posner, Gerald L. Killing the Dream: James Earl Ray and the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. New York: Random House, 1998.
  • Ralph, James R. Northern Protest: Martin Luther King, Jr., Chicago, and the Civil Rights Movement. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1993.
  • Rieder, Jonathan. The Word of the Lord is Upon Me: the righteous performance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Cambridge, Mass. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2008. King’s sermons and speeches
  • Ward, Brian, and Tony Badger, eds. The Making of Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement. Washington Square, N.Y.: New York University Press, 1996.