The Octavius V. Catto Memorial Fund has commissioned a large-scale work of art celebrating the life and legacy of Octavius Valentine Catto, a prominent 19th-century African-American scholar, teacher and civil rights leader whose advocacy for equal voting rights for African Americans led to his untimely death in 1871 at the age of 32.

The sculptor Branly Cadet, known for multifaceted public and private sculptural commissions, was selected by jury in 2013 to design the memorial, located on the southwest apron of Philadelphia's City Hall. A Quest for Parity: The Octavius V. Catto Memorial will be unveiled in the fall of 2017. 


Moe Brooker
Artist; Department Chair, Moore College of Art and Design (retired)

Leslie Graves
Chief Operating Officer, Graves Dermacare: Private Art Collector

Lisa Tremper Hanover
Director, James A. Michener Art Museum

Joseph Rishel
Senior Curator, Philadelphia Museum of Art

Helen Shannon, Ph.D.
Program Director, Museum Education, University of the Arts

I look around City Hall and I look at the apron, and certainly the people memorialized there are important people, but there is a space left, and that space belongs to him. That belongs to Catto. He was the Dr. King and Jackie Robinson of his age.
— Hon. James F. Kenney, Philadelphia City Councilman-at-Large (2004)

Photo Credit: A. Sellers

Photo Credit: A. Sellers

Location of Monument

A Quest for Parity: The Octavius V. Catto Memorial will come to life on the southwest apron of Philadelphia's stately Beaux Arts City Hall. This location, adjacent to the newly renovated Dilworth Plaza, will ensure that millions pay homage to an important historic figure. As part of the City of Philadelphia's collection of public artwork, consisting of over 1,500 sculptures, the Catto monument will be the only one dedicated to a sole African American.