Cleveland Black History: Dr. Charles H. Garvin, a doctor who cared about the community

CLEVELAND - Charles H. Garvin was born in Jacksonville, Fla. in 1890 and graduated from Howard University's medical school in 1915. The following year he began practicing medicine in Cleveland where he was known as more than just a physician. Garvin was a civic leader and businessman who was very passionate about social and economic programs for blacks.

He became the first black physician commissioned in the U.S. Army during World War I. But his interests went beyond just practicing medicine, Garvin traced the history of Africans and African-Americans in medicine. He loved collecting books that dealt with the black experience. He also wrote several articles about it and completed a manuscript.

In 1939, his interpretation of the history of  the history of Blacks in medicine in Cleveland was published in a national women's magazine the Women's Voice. During a very racially tense period in Cleveland,  Garvin was a pioneer in integrated housing. He lived in the home he built on Wade Park Ave. despite threats to his life and two bombings.

He was a very civic minded individual and was a trustee of the Urban League of Greater Cleveland, Karamu House, The Cleveland Public Library and the Cleveland branch of the NAACP.  Garvin was also national president of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.

Dr. Charles H. Garvin died in 1968.

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