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Sat, 04.02.1938

Katie Hall, Politician born

Kati Hall

*Katie Hall was born on this date in 1938.  She was a Black educator and politician.  

Katie Beatrice Green was born to Jeff and Bessie Mae (Hooper) Green at Mound Bayou in Bolivar County, Mississippi. She attended the public schools of Mound Bayou and married John Henry Hall on August 15, 1957. They were the parents of three daughters: Jacqueline Hall, Junifer Hall, and Michelle Hall.  She earned a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree from Mississippi Valley State University in 1960 and a Master of Science (M.S.) degree in education from Indiana University in 1968.   

Hall served in the Indiana House of Representatives from 1974 to 1976 and as a member of the Indiana Senate from 1976 to 1982. She was also a delegate to the Democratic Mini Convention in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1978; chairperson of the Lake County, Indiana, Democratic Committee from 1978 to 1980; and chairperson of the Indiana State Democratic convention in 1980. 

When Hall was sworn into federal office on November 2, 1982, she became the first Black woman from Indiana elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Hall represented Indiana's 1st Congressional District in the final months the 97th Congress and an entire two-year term in the 98th Congress from 1983 to 1985. She is best known for sponsoring legislation and leading efforts on the floor of the U.S. House in 1983 to make Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday a national holiday after previous efforts had failed.

H.R. 3706 to establish the third Monday in January as a federal holiday in King's honor was introduced in July 1983 and passed in the House on August 2, 1983. President Ronald Reagan signed the bill into law on November 2, 1983.  Hall was defeated in her bid for reelection to the U.S. Congress in the Democratic primary May 1984, narrowly losing to Peter Visclosky by 2,367 votes. She also lost two subsequent efforts against Visclosky in 1986 and 1990 to recapture Indiana's 1st District seat in the U.S. House.

After serving in Congress, Hall was vice chairperson of the Gary Housing Board of Commissioners. In 1985 she became the city clerk of Gary; however, she resigned the position in January 2003 after signing a plea agreement related to mail fraud. Hall was subsequently sentenced to house arrest and probation. She retired from teaching in the Gary public schools in 2004.  Katie Hall died of heart failure at Gary, Indiana, on February 20, 2012, at the age of seventy-three.

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