PHILADELPHIA (CBS) –– Philadelphia next month erects its first statue honoring an African-American. City social studies teachers are learning about the man being memorialized, civil rights activist Octavius Catto.
At a time when there’s a national debate about taking monuments down, Philadelphia is putting one up, honoring voting rights activist Octavius Catto. At a daylong session at the National Constitution Center on Thursday, 70 Philadelphia teachers were learning about how Catto was killed by a white mob on election day 1871, says School District curriculum specialist Yaasiyn Muhammad.
“The monuments become an educational piece when there’s an educational program built around it. And that’s what we’re trying to do with this Octavius Catto monument,” said Muhammad.
Kensington CAPA history teacher Ismael Jiminez says, “I try to incorporate it within the larger story in the context of Philadelphia history and specifically the African-American experience.”
Mayor Kenney, welcoming the teachers, says the Catto story is one all should know.
“I think our kids, not only the African-American children or Latino children, children of color need to know these stories. I think the white kids need to know these stories,” said Kenney.
The teachers were given instructional materials including a copy of a Catto biography, and a movie on his life by History Making Productions, the documentary firm run by former Philadelphia mayoral candidate Sam Katz.
The Catto statue is being dedicated Sept. 26 on the South City Hall apron.