Interview with Richard Hatcher

I want to go back to that third party issue. A lot of people came to Gary expecting the third party to be formed right there. What did you think?


I think that, that many of the people who came to Gary thought that the whole purpose of the convention was to form a third party. That there was going to be a Black third party, and, and that was just that. Gary would formalize that. Ah, however, there were many, ah, individuals, and I include myself in that number, who were not commi- ah, committed or were not convinced that that was the best strategy for us to take. Ah, I felt at the time that, ah, we should give the Democratic Party one more chance. And it seems ironic now, ah, some, some 17 or 18 years later, ah, that in the last campaign for President in 1988, that I, I heard people saying, "Give the democrats one more chance." Ah, it's, ah, indicative that over a period of 17 years, ah, ah, the, the, the, the compensation that people generally receive from a political party that they support so overwhelmingly has simply not been forthcoming from the Democratic Party. But in 1972 that was my feeling. In fact I think somewhere in my speech, after pointing out what the Democratic Party had done to us since 1932, and talking about our being in the hip pocket of this party, and, and it almost being a reflex, ah, ah, an automatic reflex to support the Democratic Party on the part of Blacks in this country. And, and yet, ah, when you look at our role in the party and look at, ah, the benefits that we derived, ah, from that party, ah, they were not very substantial. But after, ah, ah, chronicling all of that, then I said, "But I think we ought to give the Democratic Party one more chance." It's interesting that Reverend Jesse Jackson in his speech, ah, literally, ah, came within a hair's breadth of calling for the formation of a third party. Ah, he was, ah, very, ah, very articulate and his, ah, language was very colorful in calling, ah, for a third party to be, ah, to be formed. Ah, in the final analysis the compromise was the formation of the National Black Political Assembly. And the idea was that the Assembly would do many of the things that a political party does without declaring itself to be a separate party. And that it would eventually, the thought was that it would eventually evolve into a third party.