Connections Today

“Liberty’s too precious a thing to be buried in books. Men should hold it up in front of them every single day of their lives and say: I’m free to think and to speak. My ancestors couldn’t, I can, and my children will. Boys (and Girls) ought to grow up remembering that.”
― Mr. Smith Goes To Washington

Beyond building awareness of the O.V. Catto and his connection to the American Civil Rights story, this endeavor has sought to engage students, teachers and the general public in thinking and articulating how Catto’s story resonates today. Through the Catto Education Project, the Philadelphia School District’s Office of Curriculum reached over 11,000 public school students in grades 8 – 10 to encourage them to speak up and share their thoughts on the American democracy and their future. In May 2018 as part of a closing event, over 200 of these students gathered at City Hall to share their projects with each other and Mayor Jim Kenney and to paint the street layer of a new Mural Arts mural, commemorating Catto. This section features projects from some of those young voices.

O.V. Catto was 16 years old, when he first began to speak publicly about the issues of his day. His short life is proof that much can be accomplished by young people and their voices matter.

Civic Questions

Why is it important to understand the use of...

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What role did the National Equal Rights League play...

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What role did the Civil War play in the...

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More Catto Stories

The Fifteenth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution provided...

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What is Jim Crow? The year before Catto’s birth, “Jim...

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African American newspapers have been important voices for issues...

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