GARY, Ind. (AP) – Former Gary Mayor Richard Hatcher, who became one of the first black mayors of a big U.S. city when he was elected in 1967, has died.
He was 86.
Hatcher became the political face of Gary and a political force for blacks after his ground-breaking election.
He organized the 1972 National Black Political Convention in Gary and served as chairman of Jesse Jackson’s Democratic presidential campaign in 1984 and vice chairman four years later.
He is best known for his surprise victory in the 1967 mayoral election at the age of 34.
He had to overcome opposition from the local Democratic machine to become mayor of what was then Indiana’s second-largest city.
He went on to serve five terms.