Coalition on Race Honors Black History Month with the authors of Tasting Freedom: Octavius Catto and the Battle for Equality in Civil War America

For the full calendar of events on Black History this month, visit 

Join the Schools Committee of the Community Coalition on Race for a presentation followed by a Q&A with the authors of Tasting Freedom, Daniel Biddle and Murray Dubin. The authors are passionate about sharing the life and times of Catto and his fight to   desegregate streetcars, obtain voting rights, and improve education for Blacks in mid-19th century Philadelphia.

Octavius Valentine Catto was a second baseman on Philadelphia’s best black base-ball team, a teacher at the city’s finest black school, an activist who fought in the state capital and on the streets for equal rights, and an orator who shared the stage with Frederick Douglass. With his murder during an election-day race riot in 1871, the nation lost a civil rights pioneer—one who risked his life a century before the events that took place in Selma and Birmingham. Tasting Freedom presents the little-known stories of Catto and the men and women who struggled to change America. This book will change your understanding of civil rights history.

Daniel R. Biddle, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s former politics editor, has been a journalist for more than four decades. His investigative stories on the courts won a Pulitzer Prize and other national awards. He has been a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and teaches journalism at the University of Delaware and 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.

Tasting Freedom has been called ‘riveting,’ ‘captivating,’ an ‘eye-opener,’ and ‘an encyclopedic epic.’ According to author Larry Tye, “Biddle and Dubin’s book is for all of us who love a story about baseball and war, about race and the making of America.”  The book will be available for purchase and signing at the event.

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