GARY, Ind. — A celebration is being planned in Gary to mark the 50th anniversary of Richard Hatcher’s election as one of the first black mayors of a large U.S. city.

Hatcher won election as Gary’s mayor in 1967 and served in office for 20 years. Organizers say they’re working to attract guests including civil rights activists from the 1960s and current political leaders.

The Post-Tribune reports ( ) the Nov. 4 celebration will also be a fundraiser toward a National Civil Rights Hall of Fame that the 83-year-old Hatcher has sought to build over the past two decades.

Hatcher’s groundbreaking election sparked celebrations, but his time as mayor saw white flight from Gary and economic decline with the loss of thousands of industrial jobs.

Information from: Post-Tribune,