Interview with Richard Hatcher
QUESTION 5
SHEILA C. BERNARD:

How did your working relationships evolve? How, did you work together well?

RICHARD HATCHER:

We, we absolutely worked together. Ah, I recall one time that we felt it was very important that John Johnson of Johnson Publications be supportive of this because we wanted him to do stories in Ebony and Jet about this upcoming convention. And so we thought it was really very important to go see him personally. Which we did. The three of us went, went to see him. And, ah, the, ah, ah, this incredibly plush office and Mr. Johnson was very gracious, and which turned out to be a surprise to us. Because, ah, going in, ah, we really felt that he might not be so receptive to the idea of this kind of convention with this mixture, this volatile mixture of, ah, different, ah, parts of the Black community. But he, on the contrary, was very responsive and very supportive. And, but we did that together, and that required us being together and talking to each other. And then, ah, as the planning continued, ah, it just necessitated almost a day to day, ah, contact between us. And we were, ah, when you think about it, it's pretty incredible. This convention was pretty much put together over a period of a little over a month. And, ah, to put together a convention that ultimately brought close to 10,000 people, of, of the broadly disparate backgrounds and so forth together, ah, now that I look back at it ,it was pretty, pretty incredible. There was some distress, I must say. Ah, we did not know each other, the three of us did not know each other very well. But, in this process we got to know each other, ah, very well. And I think, ah, we got to like each other, ah, quite a lot. We understood each other better, and, ah, I think particularly between Congressman Diggs and, ah, and Amiri Baraka, that, whereas they had been divided before, I think they came much closer together. Ah, there were still things that they disagreed with each other on, and I'm sure they disagreed with me on just about everything, but, ah, I think we really became friends. And it's a friendship that, ah, has survived, ah, over the period of the last 20, ah, 20 years or so. Ah, so, ah, that was one of the, the wonderful, ah, ancillary benefits, of, of this convention for me personally.