Hatcher, Richard Gordon
- Alonford James Robinson
Richard Hatcher was born into a large, low-income family in Michigan City, Indiana, and his factory worker father often struggled to support Richard and his twelve siblings. Despite a somewhat difficult childhood, Hatcher excelled in school and graduated from Indiana University with a bachelor's degree in economics and government in 1956. In 1959 Hatcher completed a law degree at Valparaiso University and in 1961 was appointed deputy prosecuting attorney in Lake County, Indiana. He was active for many years in the politics of Gary, Indiana. In 1963 he was elected to the city council, and four years later he was elected mayor. Hatcher was, with Carl Stokes of Cleveland, Ohio, one of the first two African Americans to be elected mayor of a major American city. Hatcher served five four-year terms as mayor, until his defeat in 1987.
In 1972 Hatcher presided over the plenary session ...
A version of this article originally appeared in Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience.