Monthly Event

Rising Up: Commemorating Catto and Black Historical Figures

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Wednesday, July 22, 2020

11:00 AM - 12:30 PM


You must register on Eventbrite to attend, but the meeting is free and open to the public. By registering for this event, you're consenting to being recorded and joining our mailing list. Scroll down for the link to Eventbrite. After you register, you will receive a link to the meeting the morning of the event, July 22.


Watch the recorded video of the meeting here.


Much recent dialogue has focused on removing objectionable statues and monuments (Rizzo, Columbus, Confederate generals ... ) But what will rise in their place? Daniel R. Biddle and Murray Dubin, co-authors of Tasting Freedom: Octavius Catto and the Battle for Equality in Civil War America, will discuss Catto, the 19th-century, Philadelphia civil rights leader, and the long effort to erect his memorial at City Hall in 2017. Patricia Wilson Aden, president of the African American Museum in Philadelphia, will ponder what figures in Philadelphia's Black history deserve memorializing and what should come next. Dick Polman, a veteran Philadelphia journalist, will moderate and provide national context. Image Credit: Jack Tomczuk / Philly Metro

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Beyond Neutrality - A New Vision for Eastern State Penitentiary


Daniel R. Biddle

Dan R. Biddle, co-author of Tasting Freedom: Octavius Catto and the Battle for Equality in Civil War America, teaches journalism at the University of Pennsylvania and at the University of Delaware. Formerly the Philadelphia Inquirer investigations editor, he has worked in nearly every phase of reporting and editing. His investigative stories on the courts won a Pulitzer Prize and other national awards.

Murray Dubin

Murray Dubin, co-author of Tasting Freedom: Octavius Catto and the Battle for Equality in Civil War America and author of South Philadelphia: Mummers, Memories and the Melrose Diner, was a reporter and editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer for 34 years before leaving the newspaper in 2005. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife, Libby Rosof.

Patricia Wilson Aden

Patricia Wilson Aden brings over three decades of experience as a senior executive in non-profit management to her position as President and CEO at the African American Museum in Philadelphia. Aden previously served as AAMP's Sr. Vice President of Operations, with responsibility of the management of operations with senior staff reporting directly to her.

Prior to joining AAMP, Aden led local, regional, and national non-profit organizations including positions as the Executive Director of the Rhythm & Blues Foundation, Director of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Office of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and President of the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia. She began her career in Washington, DC where she served as the Executive Director of the DC Preservation League, as well as other leadership positions.

Aden currently serves on the boards of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, the Pennsylvania Humanities Council, PHL Diversity and the Pennsylvania Abolition Society. She was also an adjunct professor at Goucher College in Towson, Maryland. Aden holds a BA in History from Spelman College in Atlanta, GA and an MA in Historic Preservation
Planning from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.

Dick Polman

Dick Polman is the Povich "Writer in Residence" at the University of Pennsylvania, a full-time member of the faculty since 2006, and a national political columnist at He was the national political writer at The Philadelphia Inquirer from 1992 to 2006, reporting from virtually every state in the country, and he stayed on as a political columnist through the election of 2012. He joined WHYY News and wrote five political columns a week until he launched his independent website in September 2019. Prior to his long career in Philadelphia, he was a metro columnist at The Hartford Courant, and was the founding editor of an alternative newspaper, the Hartford Advocate. Dick attended George Washington University, where he served as managing editor of the college newspaper, and graduated with a BA in Public Affairs in 1973. Dick and his wife, Elise Vider, DAG Chair, live in Center City. They have a son, who works at Comcast in Center City, and a daughter, who is a web designer in the San Francisco area.