Richard Gordon Hatcher
politician, law professor
Birthplace: Michigan City, Ind.
Hatcher was elected mayor of Gary, Ind., in 1967, and he remained in office for the next 20 years. A Democrat, he was one of the first Black people to serve as mayor of a major U.S. city. Hatcher was also a longtime friend and advisor to the Rev. Jesse Jackson. He served as Jackson's campaign chairman in the 1984 presidential race and as an advisor in the 1988 race.
Hatcher attended Indiana University, receiving his BS in 1956. He subsequently earned a law degree at Valparaiso University in 1959. He 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. After having served as mayor of Gary for five terms, he was defeated in a bid for a sixth term in the 1987 Democratic primary. Hatcher started his own consulting firm, R. Gordon Hatcher & Associates, in 1988, and he began teaching law at Valparaiso University in 1989. 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.