Catto Shot by Kelly, 1871



On October 10, Election Day, after casting his ballot—a privilege newly extended to Pennsylvania’s African Americans—Octavius Catto proceeded homeward. Catto, the leader of the Pythian Base Ball Club of Philadelphia crossed paths with Frank Kelly, a Democratic Party operative who that day had already attacked one black voter who, like others of his race, was presumed to be Republican in his sentiments. Kelly turned after passing Catto, shot him once in the back, and then, after Catto struggled to his feet and spun around to face his attacker, fatally in the heart. Kelly was subsequently acquitted at trial.

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