Consumers Corner # 19



 By Jim Murphy

Octavius V. Catto (rhymes with shadow), a black Philadelphia renaissance man killed in his prime during a contested political election in 1871, will soon have his own statue on the southwest apron of City Hall.

“It will also be the first statue on Philadelphia public property dedicated to a single African American,” says Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, who has worked over ten years on the project.

The ceremony will take place Tuesday, Sept. 26, 11 a.m. at Philadelphia’s City Hall.

Catto is the subject of an outstanding book by Daniel R. Biddle and Murray Dubin called “Tasting Freedom: Octavius Catto And The Battle For Equality In Civil War America.”

I first heard about Octavius Catto when I joined the Association of Philadelphia Tour Guides some years ago, and was amazed how little known he was … and still is today.

Multi-talented, Catto was a member of the Franklin Institute and a star player and captain for the Pythian Base Ball Club, which played against at least one white team in a game covered by the New York Times.

Biddle told National Public Radio Catto is “one of the few historic figures who has been likened to both Martin Luther King and George Steinbrenner” (former owner of the New York Yankees).

Catto was also an educator, Union army major and a political organizer who helped desegregate the city’s horse-drawn streetcars and promoted the rights of blacks to vote in a critical Philadelphia election.

As a result, on Election Day 1871, minutes from his home at 814 South Street, Catto was gunned down by a white Irish thug named Frank Kelly, who fled the city for five years and was later acquitted.

Philadelphia and the nation lost an immensely talented man of 32, who seemed destined for even more greatness.

Now, 146 years after his death, Catto’s statue will be erected on the apron of City Hall.

This gives Catto some final recognition, and an opportunity for Philadelphians of all races to pay tribute to this extraordinary man. I hope you’ll visit City Hall soon after the statue is dedicated and learn more about the life of Octavius Catto. I think you’ll be impressed.



NPR, Philly.com, TheEncyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia, Philadelphia Magazine, the City of Philadelphia and “Tasting Freedom: Octavius Catto And The Battle For Equality In Civil War America.”




 That’s how many of us make the minimum payment on credit cards each month. And it’s one of the worst financial mistakes you can make.

Why? Marketwatch says, “A $2,000 credit balance with an 18% annual rate, with a minimum payment of 2% of the balance, or $10, whichever is greater, would take 370 months or just over 30 years to pay off.”

Whew! You would wind up paying $4,931 more in interest and charges, or 146% more than the original balance on the card, says Quentin Fottrell, personal finance editor at Marketwatch.

Another take on it: Greg McBride, chef financial analyst at Bankrate.com simply calls making minimum payments on credit cards “a treadmill to nowhere.”

If you are on that treadmill, it’s time to get off.


Sources: Marketwatch and Bankrate.com

20 to 30

The percent of airline flights now delayed, says Linda Loyd at Philly.com. Up to 1% or more are cancelled.


Source: Philly.com


5 hours

The amount of time most people spend planning their vacation, according to a Charles Schwab survey of 1,000 retirement savers. How much time do people spend evaluating investment options? About one hour, said one-third of those surveyed. Here’s a tip: Spend some real time thinking about your retirement and how to pay for it. Retirement will be here faster than you think.


Source: Money.CNN.com



Did you know that  Drexel University’s College of Medicine says one of every six doctors in the U.S. has had medical training in Philadelphia? That wouldn’t be shocking, though, since both the nation’s first hospital and first medical school both began here.


Photo Credit

Library of Congress. Octavius V. Catto 1839 – 1871, Broadbent and Phillips, ppmsca 18480 http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.18480


Jim Murphy is a direct marketing copywriter who has run his own consulting business since 2004. For nine years, he wrote and edited “Choices,” an award-winning credit union magazine with a circulation of 80,000. He also is a certified member of the Association of Philadelphia Tour Guides.

Any comments made are Jim’s opinion, and not necessarily those of the Old Pine Community Center.





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