Uncle Sam's Thanksgiving Dinner by Thomas Nast aimed to endorse ratification of the 15th Amendment. Published in 1869 in Harper's Weekly, it celebrates and illustrates America's ethnic diversity of that time and paints a vision of political equality for citizens of the American republic.

The Catto story is an essential part of our nation's Civil Rights and Constitutional History. O.V. Catto grew into manhood during what many scholars considered our nation's most defining period. The American Revolution produced the fundamental principles of our nation, but it did not define citizenship and the personal rights and entitlements we've grown to know and value today. These would come with the passage of the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments, along with several civil rights acts.

Photo: Architect of the Capitol (aoc.gov)
Illustration of the Passage of the Civil Rights Bill, 1866.
Allyn Cox oil on canvass, 1973-1974,
The image shows former slave Henry Garnet speaking with newspaper editor Horace Greeley, who supported African American suffrage. Garnet delivered a eulogy to Catto at his church in NYC in 1871.

It took the struggle over slavery, an issue delayed in the Revolution, and a Civil War to make these happen. Even now, our nation still has a continual struggle over personal rights and liberties, as well as race and citizenship. In this "Deeper Dive", you will be able to explore these issues and the efforts of Catto and others in this work. The section also includes lenses for seeing the impact of their efforts and what remains unresolved in our modern times. The topics, essays and materials here are design to promote civic and classroom conversations. We hope that some will be inspired to share their own findings and content.


Deeper Dive articles

Coming Soon:

  • United States Colored Troops
  • The Education of Blacks in Philadelphia
  • The Politics of Reconstruction
  • Baseball
  • Burying the Dead: Finding a Final Resting Place