Web Exclusive: Celebrating Black History Month
Berryman makes history becoming first, black Postal Service worker
EL CENTRO, Calif. (KYMA, KECY) - Willie Ray Berryman was born in 1934 originally from Arkansas. His family eventually moved west and settled in El Centro.
Berryman then became the first, black Postal Service worker in 1954. Delivering mail and hope, his son Ryan Berryman says his father took pride in donning that blue uniform.
“He was always smiling. Pretty typical of my dad,” said Ryan Berryman, son.
But things were difficult at a times. Berryman remembers many instances when his father swallowed his pride for the safety of him and his family.
“He had to lower themselves to white people, he had to kind of lose their pride and present themselves for white people. And she talks about how they did that to survive in the earlier years.”
Berryman spent many of his years fighting to improve the working conditions for postal service workers.“He would make it well known to the post office those things weren’t right.”
Berryman served 35 years in the postal office.
He passed away this January. His son says his legacy is one of service and hope.
A devote member of the church, Berryman frequently reminded those around him that "hope is life."