Interview with Richard Hatcher

You and Congressman Diggs and Amiri Baraka were a kind of fascinating trio to come together and lead this convention. How did that come about, and how did you work together? What was it like?


Well, it was interesting. At the point where there pretty much was a consensus that this convention should be held, ah, the meeting, the last meeting that I recall was in Washington, D.C. And there was a, a group of, of Black leaders in that meeting. And the decision was made that there ought to be three conveners. Congressman Diggs was, ah, at that time a very prominent member of Congress. He had founded, ah, the Congressional Black Caucus, ah, 1970. Ah, he was a, ah, a logical person to select, if you were talking about an elected official at the federal level. Ah, Amiri Baraka, ah, was clearly at that time the leader of the nationalist movement in this country, although, ah, Maulana Karenga was also very prominent and, and very active in that, in that movement. Ah, so the selection of Baraka basically said that the nationalists were in. Selection of Diggs said that elected officials were in. Ah, aside from the fact that the decision, ah, was made subsequently, ah, to hold the meeting in Gary, ah, I'm not quite sure why I was selected as sort of a third or the in-between person, other than, ah, as I indicated, ah, this feeling that I felt comfortable talking to both sides, and relating, relating to both sides. And so it was, ah, a kind of way I guess of putting a moderating influence between these two, ah, these two, ah, ah, groups, ah, representatives of groups.