On this day in 1961, Andrew Hatcher was named associate press secretary to President John F. Kennedy.
Born on June 19, 1923 in Princeton, New Jersey, Hatcher attended the Witherspoon School for Colored Children. He later attended Princeton High School and then went on to continue his education at Springfield College in Massachusetts. However, during World War II, he dropped out of college to join the U.S. Army.
Hatcher was stationed at Camp Lee, Virginia and also participated in the Officer Candidate School there. He served at the Oakland Army Base of northern California until June of 1946 when he received his honorable discharge.
He returned to Springfield College and after graduated, began working as a journalist for an African American newspaper, the San Francisco Sun-Reporter. From 1952 to 1953, Hatcher attended the Golden Gate Law School, but records do not indicate whether he ever decided to actively pursue his law career.
Hatcher transitioned into the world of politics, becoming involved with the Democratic Party, becoming a speechwriter for New York governor Adlai. Soon after, he joined the presidential campaign of John F. Kennedy as a speechwriter.
On November 10, 1960, after being elected to presidency, Kennedy appointed Hatcher as White House associate press secretary. This made him the first African American to serve in such a prestigious position.
Directly involved with the media of Kennedy’s policies and decisions, the field of journalism began to expand among African Americans. Hatcher later became a member of the National Press Club as well as a member of the American Academy of Political and Social Science.
He died in 1990 at the age of 67.