For Release: Immediately
Department of External Affairs
Free Library of Philadelphia
1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710
FAX (215) 567-7850
Contact: Communications and Development
For Release: Immediately
Contact: Communications and Development


PHILADELPHIA, January 25, 2018—This February, in celebration of Black History Month, the Free Library of Philadelphia is proud to collaborate with History Making Productions to bring screenings of its short dramatic documentary, Octavius V. Catto: A Legacy for the 21st Century, to neighborhood libraries throughout Philadelphia. Each screening will include workshops and discussions with local experts, in celebration of Catto and his achievements. Catto was a 19th-century civil rights activist, scholar, athlete, and community leader.  In September 2017, a memorial dedicated at City Hall made Catto the first specific African American to be honored with a statue on public land in Philadelphia.

The series will open at the Parkway Central Library on Thursday, February 1 at 6:30 p.m., with a screening of selections of the film, followed by a panel discussion with the filmmakers and local Catto scholars: Dan Biddle and Murray Dubin, authors of Tasting Freedom: Octavius V. Catto and the Battle for Equality in Civil War America; Dr. Emma Lapansky-Werner, Emerita Professor of History at Haverford College; and Arthur K. Sudler, lay theologian and historian for the African Episcopal Church of Saint Thomas. Moderated by Yaasiyn Muhammad, social studies curriculum specialist for the School District of Philadelphia and co-founder of the Philadelphia Black History Collaborative, panelists will discuss Catto's relevance to issues such as the Black Lives Matter movement, athletes as activists, voter suppression, and controversies about monuments. Copies of the newly released paperback edition of Tasting Freedom will be on sale at the event.

Throughout February, eight more screenings with hands-on workshops will be held at libraries across the city. All attendees will receive a free copy of the newsprint broadsheet biography Octavius V. Catto: Remembering a Forgotten Hero, created by History Making Productions.

Lucien E. Blackwell West Philadelphia Regional Library
125 South 52nd Street
Saturday, February 3 | 1:00 p.m.
Workshop for the whole family

Independence Library
18 South 7th Street
Monday, February 5 | 10:00 a.m.
Workshop for high school students

Charles L. Durham Library
3320 Haverford Avenue
Tuesday, February 6 | 4:00 p.m.
Workshop for school students

Wynnefield Library
5325 Overbrook Avenue
Thursday, February 8 | 1:00 p.m.
Workshop for elementary school students

Wadsworth Library
1500 Wadsworth Avenue
Tuesday, February 13 | 4:00 p.m.
Workshop for school students

Haddington Library
446 North 65th Street
Thursday, February 15 | 4:30 p.m.
Workshop for school students

Oak Lane Library
6614 N. 12th Street
Saturday, February 24 | 2:00 p.m.
Workshop for the whole family

Haverford Library
5543 Haverford Avenue
Monday, February 26 | 5:00 p.m.
Workshop for the whole family

Philadelphia City Institute
1905 Locust Street
Tuesday, February 27 | 1:00 p.m.
Workshop for teens

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The Free Library of Philadelphia system, with 54 locations and the Rosenbach, advances literacy, guides learning, and inspires curiosity with millions of digital and physical materials; 25,000 yearly programs and workshops; free public computers and extensive Wi-Fi, including neighborhood Hotspots; and rich special collections, including  those at Parkway Central Library and at the Rosenbach. With more than 6 million in-person visits and millions more online annually, the Free Library and the Rosenbach are among the most widely used educational and cultural institutions in Philadelphia and boast a worldwide impact.


Department of External Affairs, Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710, FAX (215) 567-7850