GARY, Ind. – Funeral services for former Gary Mayor Richard Hatcher are set for Saturday at the northwestern Indiana city's Genesis Convention Center, where Hatcher will lie in state during a public visitation.
That visitation is scheduled for noon to 8 p.m. Friday at the downtown Gary convention center for Hatcher, who died Dec. 13 at age 86. Hatcher's funeral is set to begin at 1 p.m. Saturday at the convention center, with doors opening at noon.
Both events are open to the public.
Hatcher was a 34-year-old activist, lawyer and City Council president when he was elected Gary's mayor in 1967, becoming one of the first black mayors of a big U.S. city.
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.
Jackson told The Associated Press on Saturday that Hatcher was a “transformational figure" who helped people see that African Americans could run for some of the highest offices, and win.
Hatcher, a Democrat, served five terms as mayor, but his mayorship was marred by the steel city’s deterioration.
The Hatcher family has asked that, in lieu of flowers, monetary donations be made to the Richard Gordon Hatcher Legacy Foundation, Inc.