Clifton DeBerry

Clifton DeBerry

Clifton DeBerry, 1964 Presidential candidate of the Socialist Workers Party.

Clifton DeBerry (1924–2006) was an American communist and two-time candidate for President of the United States of the Socialist Workers Party. He was the first black American in the 20th Century to be chosen by a political party as its nominee for President.

Contents

  • Biography 1
    • Early years 1.1
    • Political career 1.2
    • Death and legacy 1.3
  • Footnotes 2
  • Works by Clifton DeBerry 3
  • External links 4

Biography

Early years

Clifton DeBerry was born in 1924 in Holly Springs, Mississippi. He worked as a house painter and was a trade unionist.[1]

In the 1940s, DeBerry left his native South and moved to

Party political offices
Preceded by
Farrell Dobbs
Socialist Workers Party Presidential candidate
1964 (lost)
Succeeded by
Fred Halstead
Preceded by
Peter Camejo
Socialist Workers Party Presidential candidate
1980 (lost)
Succeeded by
Melvin T. Mason
  • Summary of COINTELPRO materials on Clifton DeBerry.

External links

  • Marxism and the Negro Struggle. With George Breitman. New York: Pathfinder Press, 1965.
  • The Case for an Independent Black Political Party [with] American Poltiics and the 1968 Presidential Campaign, by Jack Barnes. New York: Socialist Workers Party, 1967.
  • Murder in Memphis. Martin Luther King and the future of the Black Liberation Struggle. With Joseph Hansen. New York: Merit Publishers, 1968.
  • "Report on Black Struggle," in May 1968 Plenum Material. New York: Socialist Workers Party, 1968.

Works by Clifton DeBerry

  1. ^ Socialist Workers Party Election Platform. New York: Socialist Workers Party, April 1964. Page 1.
  2. ^ Joel Britton, "Meeting Set to Celebrate Life of SWP leader Clifton DeBerry," The Militant, vol. 70, no. 14 (April 10, 2006). Online at http://www.themilitant.com/2006/7014/701405.html.
  3. ^ Britton, "Meeting Set to Celebrate Life of SWP leader Clifton DeBerry," op. cit.
  4. ^ Britton, "Meeting Set to Celebrate Life of SWP leader Clifton DeBerry," op. cit.
  5. ^ James Kirkpatrick Davis, Spying on America: The FBI's Domestic Counterintelligence Program. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 1992. Page 61.
  6. ^ Britton, "Meeting Set to Celebrate Life of SWP leader Clifton DeBerry," op. cit.
  7. ^ Britton, "Meeting Set to Celebrate Life of SWP leader Clifton DeBerry," op. cit.
  8. ^ Socialist Workers Party Election Platform. New York: Socialist Workers Party, April 1964. Page 1.
  9. ^ Federal Bureau of Investigation, COINTELPRO material, http://www.icdc.com/~paulwolf/cointelpro/swp.htm#deberry.
  10. ^ "Apathy Marks At-Large Campaign in Brooklyn", New York Times, October 26, 1963
  11. ^ Federal Bureau of Investigation, COINTELPRO material, op. cit.
  12. ^ Joel Britton, "Meeting Set to Celebrate Life of SWP leader Clifton DeBerry," op. cit.

Footnotes

Clifton DeBerry died of heart failure on March 24, 2006 in a hospital near his home of Union City, California.[12] He was 82 years old. A memorial meeting was held in his honor by the Socialist Workers Party in New York City on April 29, 2006.

Death and legacy

DeBerry ran again in United States presidential election, 1980 as one of three candidates the party had that year, the others being Andrew Pulley and Richard Congress. Matilde Zimmermann was the vice presidential candidate on all three tickets.

In 1970, he ran for Governor of New York and polled 5,766 votes.

In the 1965 city election, DeBerry was the SWP's candidate for Mayor of New York.[11]

DeBerry was the Socialist Workers Party's candidate in the 1964 election. He was the party's first African American candidate as well as the first African American candidate for President of any existing party (he was preceded in 1960 by marginal candidate Clennon King). DeBerry's running mate was Ed Shaw, a printer from Illinois.

In November, 1963, DeBerry ran for Councilman in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. He received 3,514 votes in the race.[9] [10]

DeBerry marched for civil rights in Selma, Alabama and Memphis, Tennessee and was a supporter of Malcolm X in the 1960s.[7] He was a delegate to the founding conventions of the Negro Labor Congress and the Negro American Labor Council.[8]

DeBerry's career as a political activist began in earnest in the 1950s. In 1955 he helped organize a mass protest in Chicago to protest the lynching of Emmett Till back home in his native Mississippi.[6] DeBerry spoke out in defense of the Cuban Revolution, in support of African liberation struggles, and demanded withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam.

Political career

During his Chicago years in the late 1950s, DeBerry found it hard to keep a job. "I would get a job and it would last only 3 days. I would go from one job to another. The FBI would visit my boss and I would be fired."[5] DeBerry gave up on the city and moved to New York in 1960.

[4]