Liberty Hall at the Institute for Colored Youth
Liberty Hall was a building belonging to the Institute for Colored Youth.The building was used as the headquarters for the first all black Philadelphia baseball club, the Pythians, in 1867. The team had meetings and planned events here.The building is no longer standing today. However, there is a plaque elsewhere in Philly, dedicated to the Institute for Colored Youth.
Backstory and Context
Not only was Catto a student and instructor at ICY, he was also a huge civil-rights activist, who helped find the first Philly all black baseball club, the Pythians. He was the manager and star-player of the team. During the winter and off-season, the Pythians would meet in the second floor of Liberty Hall (their Headquarters) to discuss ways to strengthen the team. They would have meetings and other planned events in this very building. Catto always helped come up with ideas to improve the teams skills for the playing season.
Today, neither Liberty Hall nor the main ICY building remain. The land where Liberty Hall once stood is now occupied by residential buildings. In 1902, the Institute for Colored Youth relocated to the farm of George Cheyney, about twenty-five miles west of its original location. The institute grew into a teacher's college in the 1920s and continues today as Cheyney University of Philadelphia, a state-supported university with an international student body. A plaque on Bainbridge Street honors the history of the original institute.