Charlton County Herald

February 23, 1983.

By Albert Smith

As we celebrate the last week of Black History month let us pause for a moment to pay homage to a Black leader in our community who for many years has worked unselfishly, untiringly and willingly for the advancement of Charlton County Black People.

The person to whom we refer is Samuel R. Chatman. Mr. Chatman was born in Lakeland, Ga., Lanier County.

In 1921 the Chatman family moved to Folkston and upon arriving in Folkston the family discovered that there was no school for Black children in Charlton County. Mr. Chatman’s mother appeared before the Board of Education and requested that a school be opened for the Black children. This request was granted. Mr. Chatman attended school in this county through 1935, receiving the equivalent of eleventh grade education. The schools of the county were not consolidated during this period. Each community had a school and most of these schools were first through seventh grade. A large number of teachers in the county were high school graduates. After finishing eleventh grade Mr. Chatman was employed by the Board of Education to teach in the elementary school of Mattox, Ga. He also taught at St. George, Winokur and Traders Hill.

In 1938 Mr. Chatman married Miss Sallie Lou Lockson. In 1943 he was inducted into the U.S. Army. After ten months training in Chemical Warfare he was shipped overseas where he served in England, France, Germany, Belgium and Italy attaining the rank of S/Sgt. When the war ended Mr. Chatman returned to the United States. He entered the State College at Albany, Ga. graduating in 1949, Magna Cum Laude, with a BS Degree, majoring in Education.

His teaching assignments were as follows: Albany State College Lab School, Waycross City School System, Cook County School System and Twenty-three years in Charlton County School System.

Mr. Chatman joined the Mt. Carmel Baptist Church in 1931. During this fifty-three years of membership he has served in the following positions: President of the BTU, Asst. Supt. of the Sunday School, Secretary of the Deacon Board, Asst. Secretary of the church, a member of the usher board and the Trustee Board. He also serves as editor of the church bulletin.

Mr. Chatman has served this community in many ways. He can be called the father of Black voting. When the Black people began voting in the 1960s the paper ballot was being used. Mr. Chatman called the Black voters together and taught them how to use the paper ballot correctly. He has served as a member of the Jury Selection Commission, and at present he is serving on the Board of Registrars for the county. He has served as a Notary Public and as advisor to the local chapter of the NAACP during the time that the late Ferris Everett served as president.

Mr. Chatman has served and is continuing to serve the Black People of Charlton County.

Charlton  County Archives