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*Richard Hatcher was born on this date in 1933. He was a Black politician and law professor.
From Michigan City, IN., Richard Gordon Hatcher attended Indiana University, receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in 1956. He then earned a law degree at Valparaiso University in 1959. Hatcher moved to Gary and began practicing law in East Chicago, Ind. He served as a deputy prosecutor for Lake County, Ind., from 1961 to 1963, when he was elected to Gary's city council. Hatcher was elected mayor of Gary, Ind., in 1967, remaining in office for 20 years. A Democrat, he was one of the first Blacks to serve as mayor of a major U.S. city.
Also, during that time, the city he managed ran into considerable fiscal difficulty. Depending on who was asked, the culpability for the immense loss of businesses, increased crime, and overall urban decay was directed at him. He was defeated in a bid for a sixth term in the 1987 Democratic primary. Hatcher also served as Jesse Jackson's campaign chairman in the 1984 presidential race and as an adviser in the 1988 race.
After that, he started his consulting firm, R. Gordon Hatcher & Associates, in 1988, and he began teaching law at Valparaiso University the following year. He then became an adjunct professor in African American studies at Indiana University Northwest. He ran again for mayor of Gary in 1991 but was defeated in the primary. Hatcher has written articles about urban affairs, civil rights, politics, and law and has been working on a book.
He is associated with various civic, urban, political, and American Civil Rights organizations and has received many awards and honors for his dedication to his community. Richard Hatcher died at Mercy Hospital and Medical Center in Chicago on December 13, 2019. He was 86 years old. Hatcher's funeral was held on December 21, 2019.
Indiana Historical Society
450 West Ohio St. Indianapolis, IN 46202