Saturday August 27, 2pm
The Brothers Network Presents
Daniel R. Biddle & Murray Dubin authors of Tasting Freedom ($35.00 Temple University Press – Special to Brothers Network Members Only – $23.00)
The former Philadelphia Inquirer reporters have written a masterful and widely praised book that brings to life the overlooked history of the African American civil rights struggle. In many respects, Octavius Valentine Catto was the Martin Luther King of his day, and had his life not ended prematurely amidst Election Day violence in 1871, we might today speak of him as we do of Frederick Douglass, with whom he shared the stage as an orator. Catto worked to organize black troops to fight for the Union cause, organized black Philadelphians to register to vote, and waged a successful fight in the streets, the legislature and the courts to integrate public transportation in Philadelphia. His Pythians baseball club also struck early blows for equality, playing and beating the best white teams in the era before baseball segregated itself. Tasting Freedom reminds us that the struggle for equality began well before the 1960s and that the leaders of that era stood on the shoulders of giants who came before them.
In Tasting Freedom, Daniel Biddle (winner of the Pulitzer Prize) and Murray Dubin painstakingly chronicle the life of this charismatic black leader – a “free” a black man whose freedom was in name only. Born in the American South, where slavery permeated everyday life, he moved north, where he joined the fight to be truly free – free to vote, go to school, ride on streetcares, play baseball, and even participate in Fourth of July celebrations. Catto electrified a biracial audience in 1864 when he called on free men and women to act to educate newly freed slaves, proclaiming, “There must come a change.” With a group of other African Americans, who called themselves a “band of brothers,” he challenged one injustice after another. 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 Pennsylvania editor, has worked in nearly every phase of newspaper reporting and editing. His investigative stories on the courts won a Pulitzer Prize and other national awards. He has been a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and has taught at the University of Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Cynthia Roberts, live in Philadelphia. Murray Dubin was a reporter and editor at the Phildelphia Inquirer for thirty-four years, from 1971 to 2005. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife, Libby Rosof.