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Heather Marie Stur

the first African American mayor of Gary, Indiana, and one of the first African American mayors of a major U.S. city. Hatcher was elected for the first time in 1967, the same year that Carl Stokes was elected the first African American mayor of Cleveland. Calling on African Americans to take control of their own destiny outside the parameters of the white establishment, Hatcher became a major figure in black politics in the late 1960s and early 1970s. During Hatcher's tenure as mayor, Gary hosted the National Black Political Convention on 11 March 1972 that resulted in the “Gary Declaration.” This paper outlined a political agenda based on the notion that African Americans must work to change both the political and economic systems in the United States in order to redress centuries of discrimination and oppression.

Richard Gordon Hatcher was born in Michigan City Indiana and earned a bachelor ...

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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 ...