Civil rights

Hatcher hailed as a pioneer of civil rights | Local News

Family members at the midday ceremony included Hatcher’s widow, Ruthelyn, and their three daughters, Rachelle, Renee and Ragen, all lawyers. Joined them were Jonathan Jackson of Chicago, son of Reverend Jesse Jackson and national spokesperson for the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, an international human and civil rights organization founded by his father.

Jackson cited Hatcher for his courage, character, conviction, and skill.

“Someone had to prepare the ground,” Jackson said, citing the hardships endured by the former mayor. “We need political power. We need it now.

Hatcher was also the first chairman of the board of TransAfrica, an organization that fought to end apartheid in South Africa and to free Nelson Mandela. After Mandela’s release, Hatcher went to South Africa and helped draft a new constitution.

Ragen Hatcher, who served on city council, is a state representative. As for his father teaching at several universities here and abroad, Hatcher said: “He has come out and spread the word. He was everything for us.

Rachelle Hatcher said her father’s legacy was based on honesty, faith, courage and strength, but the most important thing was hope.

“He never gave up on fighting for what’s right,” the girl said. “He never gave up, never gave in, never stopped fighting.”