Former U.S. Rep. Katie Hall and the first black member of the Indiana House has died at the age of 73, according to the New York Times.

Hall, who was one of the key sponsors of the legislation that helped establish a national holiday for Martin Luther King Jr.  in 1983, died on Monday in Gary, Ind. Her husband, John Henry Hall, did not disclose the cause of death.


"She was there with President Reagan as well as Coretta Scott King and others when the president signed it. It was one of the highlights of her career, tremendously so," he told ABC News.

The proposal had first been launched in the House in 1969, soon after King's death, but had never succeeded. In 1983 Hall, then a freshman congresswoman, managed the bill on the House floor for a subcommittee of the Postal Office and Civil Service Committee.

After being defeated in the 1984 Democratic primary, Hall went on to serve as a civil clerk in Gary until 2003, when she pleaded guilty to mail fraud as part of a deal with federal prosecutors on 20 felony public-corruption charges. She was accused of making workers in the city clerk's office help her raise campaign cash for her re-election or lose their jobs. Hall was sentenced to house arrest and probation.


Despite the disappointing ending to her career, Hall accomplished plenty, and her husband wants her to be remembered for the good and not the bad. "She left a great legacy of love and concern for city, state and country as well as humanity, and her great work rising from the cotton fields of Mississippi to serve in the Congress of the United States of America," he told ABC News.

Read more at the New York Times and ABC News.