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Former York, Pa., police chief Tom Chatman ranks high on list of local pioneering minorities

Thomas V. Chatman Jr., a pioneer in York’s (Pa.) black community, passed away this week. Background posts: Mattie Chapman, first black elected county official profiled, Pioneering women in state politics and 10 years ago, York’s exclusive Lafayette Club became less exclusive.

Tom Chatman, York’s first black chief of police, died this week, and Mike Argento’s obituary story quite rightly details his accomplishments on the road to that office.
“He endured, back in his days as a patrolman and later a detective, the most vile racial epithets from bigots and being called an Uncle Tom by members of his own community,” Argento wrote.
To boil down a list of Chatman accomplishments, he became York’s police chief within 10 years after the York race riots ended. The practices and policies of York’s police department contributed to those terrible summers of 1968 and 1969.
With the spotlight on this pioneer, it seems right to repeat or three-peat his place in this sampling of minority and female “firsts” in York County’s past, many of which have occurred since 1970:

York City School District
First Latino school board president: Jeanette Torres
First Latino school board member: Vilma Garcia-Jones
First Latino school superintendent: Carlos Lopez
First black school board member: W. Russell Chapman.
First black female school board member: Doris Sweeney
First black school board president: Douglas Smallwood
First black school superintendent: Frederick D. Holliday
First black female superintendent: Tresa Diggs
First black homecoming queen, William Penn High School: Linda Woodward
York City
First appointed female mayor of York: Jessie M. Gross
First female candidate for York mayor (1973 Dem primary): Genevieve Ray
First elected female mayor of York: Elizabeth Marshall
First black chief of police: Thomas Chatman
First black male member of city council: Roy Borom
First black female member of city council: Carol Hill-Evans
First black candidate for mayor: Ray Crenshaw
First black female candidate for mayor: C. Kim Bracey
First black city controller: Charles B. Walker
First Latino York City Council member: Abe Amoros
York County
First black elected York County row officer: Mattie Chapman, prothonotary
First female county commissioner: Lorraine Hovis
First female York County Common Pleas Court judge: Sheryl Dorney
First black York County Common Pleas Court judge candidate: Chuck Patterson
First female state representative: Jane Alexander, 1964
Other community positions
First black member, York College board: Bobby Simpson
First black member, York County Chamber of Commerce Board: Bobby Simpson
First black chairman, York County Chamber of Commerce: Vernon Bracey
First black member, Lafayette Club: Vernon Bracey
First black member, Country Club of York: George Ruffin
First black nurse, Memorial Hospital: Mary E. White
First black York Hospital board member: Joseph Douglas
First black Wellspan board member: Daniel Elby
First female member, York County Bar: Mary Jane Yohe (1949)
(Sources for information about Mattie Chapman and the “firsts” above: James McClure’s “Never to be Forgotten,” “Almost Forgotten,” various newspaper accounts. Also, Georg Sheets’ “Lawyers and Leaders.”)