Interview with Richard Hatcher
QUESTION 16
SHEILA C. BERNARD:

What were the agenda items--

SHEILA C. BERNARD:

Sure.



SHEILA C. BERNARD:

What was the agenda that was passed at Gary aiming at and ah?

RICHARD HATCHER:

Well, It was a wonderful agenda. Ah, it addressed the issue of political parity. It was pointed out at that time that based upon our numbers, instead of having I believe, ah, around ten or eleven, ah, Black congressmen, we should have had 43. And so a goal, a target was set to achieve, ah, that level of, ah, members of Congress. Ah, we talked about the need to expand the number of local, ah, Black elected officials. And people were encouraged to go back to their home communities and organize politically, and run candidates for offices like city council, mayor and so forth. And, ah, that was a major thrust of that meeting. Talking to people about, ah, and trying to inspire people to go back and to run for public office. And the truly incredible thing is that it happened. Ah, people, ah, at that time we had, as I said, maybe three, four hundred Black elected officials, including dog catchers and everything else. Ah, we have evolved now to where we have over 6,000, and that all has taken place in a short period of about 17 years. So Gary was truly inspirational. A meeting that was held two years later in Little Rock, Arkansas, ah, was significant, ah, for the fact that there were workshops on how to run for office, and a lot of people learned, ah, how to go back home and run for these, ah, these various offices. So political parity was a major thrust of, of this convention. But we also talked about economic parity, and the need to establish economic institutions. Many of the discussions that are ongoing today, ah, were occurring at that meeting. Unemployment, the disproportionate level of unemployment among Blacks. Ah, the disproportionate level of poverty among Blacks, and what to do about it. What kinds of new institutions could be, ah, created to address those problems**. At that time one of the major issues of the day was the issue of busing. Ah, busing for the purpose--