Abner Berry

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Abner Berry...

Black Workers for Justice

In 1983 three members of Black Workers for Justice were part of a lawsuit against the town of Rocky Mount for violating Black voting rights. Our acting as plaintiffs on the lawsuit was key in helping to shape the political identity of BWFJ as an indigenous worker organization in the Black community. This countered the image of labor organizations as outside, impersonal forces — which is how the trade union movement, in particular, often appears to the Black community.

The late Abner W. Berry, a founding member of BWFJ, veteran freedom fighter since the 1920s, and member of the Communist Party USA until the 1950s, was one of the main plaintiffs and strategists for BWFJ's participation in the suit. He saw it as an opportunity for BWFJ to offer leadership in a key battle in the African American struggle for self-determination[1].