May 14: Walnut West Library

We have what sounds like a fun “twofer” at our local library, the Walnut West branch at 40th and Walnut Streets. First we’re talking to the library’s book club, who’ve been reading Tasting Freedom for the past month. Then at 6:45 p.m., we switch audiences and talk to a larger group from the University City neighborhood until about 7:30 or 8 p.m. Sounds like a good Monday night — and it’s all free.

March 20: Lincoln University

Lincoln University students helped Octavius Catto integrate the streetcars in Philadelphia in 1866. From 4 – 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 20, we’ll get a chance to acknowledge their assistance and say thank you. We’ll be speaking at the “little theater” inside the Ware Center on the lovely Chester County campus, courtesy of an invitation from the Humanities and English departments.

Feb. 25: 11 a.m. Catto Memorial Service

Octavius Catto was born on February 22, 1839. There will be a memorial wreath-laying on Saturday to honor his life at Sixth and Lombard Streets, across from Mother Bethel Church. This will be a moment to remember an extraordinary man. Dan and I will be there. Anthony Waskie, a Temple university professor who has been a champion of Catto for many years, is the organizer of the event. Right after the wreath-laying, Waskie, Dan and I will be hurrying to the Union League to join other invited guests for the 12:30 awarding of the Catto Medal to a Pennsylvania National Guardsman.

Feb. 25: Union League of Philadelphia

We’ll be guests at an historic ceremony at 12:30 as the Pennsylvania National Guard reclaims the lost “Catto Medal” and awards it once again to a deserving PNG soldier and airman. Created after Octavius Catto’s murder in 1871 to honor the former major in the National Guard, the award was mysteriously lost for what appears to be a century. Following the event, which we believe is invitation-only, copies of “Tasting Freedom” will be available for sale and signing. Earlier in the day, at 11 a.m., there will be a public wreath-laying in Catto’s memory at Sixth and Lombard. Catto was born on Feb. 22, 1839.

Feb. 9: Kensington High School

We’re going to our second school in a row, this time making a visit to Aileen Halligan’s African American history class at Kensington High School from 11:45 a.m. to about 1 p.m. Like to invite you all to join us, but this is going to be a small group limited to high schoolers and teachers. Aileen’s dad, Ed, is an old University City buddy of ours. We’ll be there at about the same time as spring training starts in Florida, so maybe we’ll talk a little Philadelphia baseball, Octavius Catto style.

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Meet the Authors

When they are not writing, Dan Biddle and Murray Dubin love to talk -- especially about the book. Invite them to speak to your book club, church, college class, civil war commemoration, fraternal group, library event, historical association meeting and more.
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Video Introduction

We like to talk. Our publicist put us in front of a video camera, asked three questions and then crossed his fingers. We're probably a little too serious at the beginning, but we loosen up as the video goes on.
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A Call to Arms

Click to get a closer look, you can see the name of Octavius Catto at the bottom, as well as his father's.

This broadside is eight feet high and was seen on windows in downtown Philadelphia in June, 1863, as black leaders called a meeting to convince black men to join the Union Army prior to Gettysburg.