|Harold Chatman, right, the son of Dr. Joseph Alvin Chatman, is joined by Jim Courtney, CEO of University Medical Center, during the groundbreaking for Chatman Community Health Center in 1993. Dr. Joseph Alvin Chatman built the early Chatman Hospital in Lubbock.
Dr. Chatman reaps honor for efforts in community
1949 A doctor who came to Lubbock ten years ago with $7 in his pocket has been selected by members of his own race as the most valuable negro citizen of Lubbock.
He is Dr. Joseph Alvin Chatman, recognized member of medical associations, constant worker and contributor to betterment of his community.
Today, on the anniversary of "Juneteenth," Emancipation day, white and colored alike pay tribute to the efforts he has made in behalf of his race.
Dr. Chatman's selection was made after The Avalanche-Journal requested post card votes on the subject from negro citizens through the Plainsman column.
By an overwhelming majority Dr. Chatman was chosen.
Born in Grimes County, 22 miles from a railroad, in 1901, Chatman moved to Mexia with his parents when he was only six weeks old. He finished high school at Mexia in 1918 and went to Prairie View College.
During the severe influenza epidemic in 1918 he was pronounced dead by the dean of the college, but since freshman students lived on the third floor of the dormitory, there was a six-hour delay before his body could be removed and meanwhile his roommate saw signs of life.
He finished school at Prairie View in 1920 and went to Fisk University at Nashville, Tenn., receiving an A.B. degree in 1922. He then went to Meharry Medical College in Nashville, receiving his M.D. degree in 1926.
He took third honors although he did not own a textbook.
"I used to wait until the other boys went out courtin' and borrowed their books to study while they were gone," he recalled.
He practiced medicine in Mexia 13 years and then, in 1939, moved to Lubbock, arriving with $7 in his pocket.
Since that time he has built a two-story hospital which fills a crying need in Lubbock. He has also built a two-story brick home.
"I am not by any means the wealthiest negro in Lubbock," he points out.
That he is the most respected is confirmed by the offices he holds.
He is president of the Commonwealth club, the negroes' civic improvement organization, chairman of the Recreational Center for Negroes, chairman of the bond selling campaign for 13 counties around Lubbock, on the board of trustees of two churches and contributor to all negro churches, teacher of the Adult Bible class which meets in the Ritz theater.
He has spoken 75 to 80 times in recent years before Lubbock church congregations, luncheon clubs, students at Texas Technological College and other groups. One white church has requested his speech six different times.
He has appeared before the Lions Club at Levelland, the Kiwanis club at Brownfield, a joint meeting of three churches at Canyon, an assembly of students at McMurry College at Abilene, where the presidents of two colleges were present.
In his profession he is a member in good standing of the American Medical Association and the Lubbock-Crosby County Medical Society.
The Chatman hospital is also recognized professionally and is a member of the Blue Cross hospitalization plan.
Dr. Chatman and his wife have two sons. The elder, Harold, 21, lives in Lubbock and the younger Dalton, 19, is a junior student at Fisk University.