Berry Gordy, Jr. is an American record producer, and the founder of the Motown record label, as well as its many subsidiaries.
Gordy, Jr. was the seventh of eight children born to the middle class family of Berry Gordy II and Bertha Fuller Gordy, who had relocated to Detroit from Milledgeville, Georgia in 1922. Gordy was brought up in a tight-knit family with strong morals. Berry Gordy II was the son of Berry Gordy I and a woman named Lucy. Berry Gordy I was the son of James Thomas Gordy, a white farmer, and a female slave in Georgia. This James Thomas Gordy was also, by his wife Harriet Emily Helms, the great-grandfather of Jimmy Carter, the 39th president of the United States, making Berry Gordy III and Carter second half-cousins. It is also through James Thomas Gordy that Berry Gordy and Elvis Presley are related.
Berry Gordy II was lured to Detroit by the many job opportunities for blacks offered by booming automotive businesses.
Berry Gordy, Jr’s older siblings were all prominent black citizens of Detroit. Berry, however, dropped out of high school in the eleventh grade to become a professional boxer in hopes of becoming rich quick, a career he followed until 1950 when he was drafted by the United States Army for the Korean War.