Interview with Richard Hatcher
QUESTION 9
SHEILA C. BERNARD:

The beginning, no, just the very opening of the convention, you've been planning this for years. Where were you just before you went out on to the podium? Can you just paint that picture for me?

RICHARD HATCHER:

Well, ah, the interesting thing, the opening session, ah, that morning, I had to be in my office, the Mayor's office, because there was some city business that had to be, had to be taken care of. And I think I was really concerned about two things. One, I was concerned about whether I was going to get this business taken care of in time to get over to the, ah, school for- because it was on the far west side of the city, ah, in time for the opening, ah, ceremonies. And, secondly, to be very honest with you, even at that point, I still had some, ah, concern that we wouldn't have very many people, that not very many people would show up. Well, the, the truly wonderful thing was when I got to the hall, and, ah, ah, came from behind the stage and out on to the platform, I saw a, ah, a veritable sea of faces. It was, ah, probably, ah, one of the most glorious moments of my life, ah, when I walked out and saw all of these Black people of every color, every, ah, hue, every shade. Ah, the colorful, ah, dashikis and, and other African garb that some of them wore, ah, mixing with, ah, three piece suits and, and so forth. It was just an incredible sight to behold**. And in that crowd, ah, to see people over the next few days who were really famous, famous entertainers, ah, ah, individuals who in one field or another had achieved, ah, great success and great national and sometimes international fame, but to see them simply mixing with the people. Walking around like any other, ah, delegate, any other person. There was this, this wonderful sense that, ah, we had truly come together, ah, as a people, and a warm feeling of brotherhood and sisterhood that, ah, I'm not sure we've been able to duplicate since. Ah, but it was certainly there, and there was a kind of electricity, ah, in the air, and it was clear that people were there about very serious business, and wa- and really saw this as a meeting that would have a long term, long range impact, ah, on the lives of, of Black Americans.