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New City Hall Statue Honors One Of Philadelphia's Earliest Civil Rights Leaders

CITY HALL (CBS) -- Philadelphia City Hall will get its first new statue in nearly a hundred years, a memorial to one of the city's earliest civil rights leaders, who was killed while exercising his newly-won right to vote in 1871.

Octavius Catto won a courageous fight to desegregate Philadelphia's trolley system and helped win ratification of the 15th amendment, extending the right to vote to black men. Sculptor Branley Cadet has incorporated a trolley car and ballot box, along with a 12-foot bronze statue in the memorial. Cadet became overwhelmed describing what the commission meant to him.

"I am a child of Octavius Catto's envisioned future, a future he helped to create and paid for with his life, a future I get to live," Cadet said.

The effort to honor Catto started when Mayor Jim Kenney first heard Catto's story, some 16 years ago, and was astounded that Catto was not better known. A goal of the memorial is to tell his story.

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