The Election of Richard G Hatcher

In: Social Issues

Submitted By scc0o7
Words 2983
Pages 12
The 1963 historic March on Washington and the subsequent passing of some sweeping civil rights laws spurred African-Americans who had grown angry and frustrated over the slow rate of their social and economic progress. They were now finally prepared to realize their potential force in order to exercise a decisive measure of political control over their own lives. Consequently, several African-American mayors of major cities, especially in the industrial North, were elected opening the floodgates of other African-American elected officials throughout the nation, including city council-members, aldermen, school board members, governors and presidents. After winning the primary and the general election with 95 percent of the African-American vote (At the same time, Carl Stokes was elected mayor of Cleveland, Ohio), Richard G. Hatcher became the first African-American mayor of Gary, Indiana, and the first in the state of Indiana. He was elected in November 1967 and inaugurated in January 1968. Hatcher served an unprecedented five terms and as one of the beneficiaries of the Civil Rights Movement, he set the tone and was used as the standard by which many African-American mayors, that came after him, throughout the nation, were evaluated or criticized. Hatcher broke the racial glass ceiling for a host of African-American mayors who followed him.

In the light of this watershed moment, it is the purpose of this paper to analyze how Richard Gordon Hatcher became the first African-American mayor of Gary, Indiana. For this critical examination, the 1967 Mayoral election has been selected. This historic fete will be first analyzed by learning about the background of Hatcher and Gary’s political landscape prior to the 1967 race. Second, Hatcher’s scramble to be mayor will also be examined via the Democratic primary held in May of that year. Third, the general election…...

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