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.
Clifton DeBerry was born in 1924 in Holly Springs, Mississippi. He worked as a house painter and was a trade unionist.
In the 1940s, DeBerry left his native South and moved to Chicago, where he worked in a factory owned by International Harvester. He became active in the Farm Equipment Workers Union and joined the Communist Party. DeBerry grew critical of the official Communist movement, however, and in 1953 he joined the Socialist Workers Party, a Trotskyist organization.
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." DeBerry gave up on the city and moved to New York in 1960.
DeBerry's career as a political activist began in earnest in the 1950s.