Read the story here. Advertise at Before It's News here.
Profile image
By Science and Technology
Contributor profile | More stories
Story Views
Last hour:
Last 24 hours:

Sports Heroes Who Served: Army Major, Baseball Player Advocated for Equal Rights

% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.

 Feb. 2, 2021 | BY David Vergun , DOD News

Sports Heroes Who Served is a series that highlights the accomplishments of athletes who served in the U.S. military.

Octavius Valentine Catto was born Feb. 22, 1839, in Charleston, South Carolina. His parents were African-Americans and were free.

The family later moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where Catto played cricket in school and then later took up baseball.

In a photo from the 1800s, a man dressed in a suit poses for the camera.

He graduated from Philadelphia’s Institute for Colored Youth, or ICY, in 1858 and then did a year of postgraduate study. Beginning in 1859, he taught English and Math at ICY.

In 1861, when the Civil War started, Catto joined with abolitionist and statesman Frederick Douglass to recruit black men to fight for the Union. Together, they helped to raise 11 regiments of U.S. Colored Troops in the Philadelphia area. At the time, Catto was commissioned an Army major.

After the Civil War, Catto helped establish Negro league baseball in Philadelphia. He was the captain and the star player of the Pythian team there. In 1867, the team applied to join the Pennsylvania chapter of the National Amateur Association of Base Ball Players.

The application was denied, which established a segregation precedent in U.S. baseball that continued for many decades, according to Ryan Swanson, author of the book “When Baseball Went White.”

A flyer from the 1860s urges

Nevertheless, the Pythian team, which was not an NAA member, played the all-White Olympics team on Sept. 3, 1869, losing to the Olympics 44-23. The event was significant because it was the first baseball game ever played between a “white and colored club,” according to a New York Times newspaper article.

Catto also became the principal of ICY and worked to desegregate Philadelphia’s streetcars.

Joining with Douglass, the two gave speeches calling for ratification of the 15th Amendment to the Constitution, which guaranteed that no citizen could be kept from voting “on account of race, color or previous condition of servitude.”

The amendment, which was the third and last of the Reconstruction Amendments, was ratified Feb. 3, 1870.

In 1871, Catto urged Blacks to vote, and it was the first time in Philadelphia’s history that they voted, despite violence against them at voting sites.

A historical marker on a city street marks the place where Octavius Catto lived.

A statue shows a man leaning forward with his arms outstretched.

During the voting site violence, Catto was shot and killed by a man who didn’t want Black Americans to vote.

Frank Kelly was identified as the killer by multiple witnesses. He was captured and put on trial; an all-white jury exonerated him.

In September 2017, a 12-foot bronze statue of Catto was unveiled at Philadelphia’s City Hall.


Before It’s News® is a community of individuals who report on what’s going on around them, from all around the world.

Anyone can join.
Anyone can contribute.
Anyone can become informed about their world.

"United We Stand" Click Here To Create Your Personal Citizen Journalist Account Today, Be Sure To Invite Your Friends.

Please Help Support BeforeitsNews by trying our Natural Health Products below!

Order by Phone at 888-809-8385 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Order by Phone at 888-388-7003 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Order by Phone at 888-388-7003 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Humic & Fulvic Trace Minerals Complex - Nature's most important supplement! Vivid Dreams again!

HNEX HydroNano EXtracellular Water - Improve immune system health and reduce inflammation

Ultimate Clinical Potency Curcumin - Natural pain relief, reduce inflammation and so much more.

MitoCopper - Bioavailable Copper destroys pathogens and gives you more energy. (See Blood Video)
Oxy Powder - Natural Colon Cleanser!  Cleans out toxic buildup with oxygen! 
Nascent Iodine - Promotes detoxification, mental focus and thyroid health.
Smart Meter Cover -  Reduces Smart Meter radiation by 96%!  (See Video)

Immusist Beverage Concentrate - Proprietary blend, formulated to reduce inflammation while hydrating and oxygenating the cells.

Report abuse


    Your Comments
    Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

    Load more ...




    Email this story
    Email this story

    If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

    If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.