Ross, Fred, 1910-

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Community and labor organizer, primarily in southern California. In the early 1940s he helped Japanese American internees obtain jobs and in 1946 went to work for the American Council on Race Relations in response to the racial tensions that had surfaced during the war. From 1947 to 1952 he worked for Saul Alinsky and the Industrial Areas Foundation. With their support Ross established the first Community Service Organization in the Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles. In 1952 he met Cesar Chavez, then a young man in San Jose, and hired him. Both men founded 22 CSO chapters throughout California in the 1950s. He continued with numerous community organizing projects, including the Giumarra strike of 1967, the grape boycott of 1968, the lettuce strikes of 1970 and 1973, and the Gallo wine boycott of 1973. In 1978 Ross directed Jerry Brown's campaign for governor. Ross died in 1992.

From the description of Fred Ross papers, ca. 1910-1992. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 462019282

BIOGRAPHY

Fred W. Ross was born August 23, 1910 in San Francisco to Fred W. and Daisy C. Ross. He grew up in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles and attended Belmont High School until 1929. An English literature and social science major, he graduated from the University of Southern California in 1937.

Giving up his original plan to become a teacher because he could not find a job during the Depression, Ross became a caseworker with the state relief administration. In 1939 he became the manager of the Arvin Migratory Labor Camp near Bakersfield, the same camp John Steinbeck drew on to write The Grapes of Wrath. Ross encouraged the inhabitants to organize themselves. In 1941 he began to work for the War Relocation Authority helping Japanese American internees leave the camps and obtain jobs and housing.

In 1946 Ross went to work for the American Council on Race Relations to promote "Councils for Civic Unity" in California in response to the racial tensions that had surfaced during the war. The eight Hispanic Unity Leagues Ross organized fought segregation in schools and elsewhere. From 1947 to 1952 he worked for Saul Alinsky and the Industrial Areas Foundation. With their support Ross established the first Community Service Organization in the Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles. In 1952 he met Cesar Chavez, then a young man in San Jose, and hired him. Both men founded 22 CSO chapters throughout California in the 1950's. As a decades-long mentor, Ross had a strong influence on Chavez, who remembered that "as time went on, Fred became sort of my hero. I saw him organize and I wanted to learn."

In 1964 Ross was hired by the National Presbyterian Church to establish a community self-help group in Guadalupe, Arizona, a poor small town, populated by Yaqui Indians and Mexican Americans, where the church owned much property. The following year, 1965-66, Ross taught community organizing at Syracuse University in the first course of its kind. In 1966 Ross began his work with Cesar Chavez's UFW, training hundreds of organizers. He organized many well-known strikes and boycotts, among them the Giumarra strike of 1967, the grape boycott of 1968, the lettuce strikes of 1970 and 1973, and the Gallo wine boycott of 1973.

In 1978 Ross directed Jerry Brown's campaign for governor of California. Ross helped to organize the United Domestic Workers of America and the 1979 Chiquita Banana Boycott. In 1984 he became involved with Nuclear Freeze, Jobs with Peace, CISPES (Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador). He also worked with the anti-interventionist group Neighbor to Neighbor with his son, Fred., Jr .

Ross developed and taught organizing techniques such as the house meeting. This work is well-documented in the Papers. In 1989 Neighbor to Neighbor published Ross' Axioms for Organizers as a booklet. The same year, El Taller Grafico press (UFW) pubished Ross' first book, Conquering Goliath: Cesar Chavez at the Beginning.

In 1937 Ross married Yvonne Gregg; they divorced shortly after the birth of their son, Robert, in 1940. Ross married Frances Gibson in 1943, and they had three children, Julia, Fred, Jr., and Rob. Fred Ross died on September 27, 1992.

From the guide to the Fred Ross Papers, 1910-1992, (Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn United Farm Workers of America. Work Dept. United Farm Workers Work Department records, 1969-1975, (bulk 1973). Wayne State University. Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs
creatorOf Fred Ross Papers, 1910-1992 Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Community Service Organization. History Project. Community Service Organization History Project records, 1997-2009. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Industrial Areas Foundation Records, 2001-113; 2006-102; 2007-277., [ca. 1938-1995] (bulk 1951-1987) Dolph Briscoe Center for American History
referencedIn Seema Aissen Weatherwax photographs, 1933-1993 Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Ross, Fred, 1910-. Fred Ross papers, ca. 1910-1992. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Industrial Areas Foundation. Industrial Areas Foundation Records, [ca. 1938-1995] (bulk 1951-1987) University of Texas Libraries
referencedIn United Farm Workers of America. Information and Research Dept. United Farm Workers Information and Research Department records, 1939-1978, (bulk 1970-1977). Wayne State University. Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs
referencedIn Warner Bros. production slides [graphic], 1979-1991 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Adler, John. person
associatedWith AFL-CIO. corporateBody
associatedWith Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee. corporateBody
associatedWith Alinsky, Saul. person
associatedWith Alinsky, Saul, 1909-1972 person
associatedWith American Council on Race Relations. corporateBody
associatedWith Bacar, Dan. person
associatedWith Beachy, Bill. person
associatedWith Brashear, Jenny. person
associatedWith Burciaga, Dave. person
associatedWith California Federation for Civic Unity. corporateBody
associatedWith Central America Peace Education Training Project. corporateBody
associatedWith Chambers, Edward T. person
associatedWith Chavez, Cesar, 1927-1993. person
associatedWith Coe, Andy. person
associatedWith Cohen, Ellie. person
associatedWith Community Action Training Center. corporateBody
associatedWith Community Service Organization. corporateBody
associatedWith Community Service Organization. History Project. person
associatedWith Costello, Greg. person
associatedWith Deety, Joe. person
associatedWith Donoughue, Chris. person
associatedWith Dukes, Joe. person
associatedWith Elliot, Nancey. person
associatedWith Feinstein, Dianne, 1933- person
associatedWith Ganley, Mike. person
associatedWith Ganz, Marshall. person
associatedWith Guadalupe Organization, Inc. corporateBody
associatedWith Hagstrom, Warren. person
associatedWith Hardie, Bob. person
associatedWith Hartmire, Chris. person
associatedWith Helstein, Ralph. person
associatedWith Huerta, Dolores. person
associatedWith Industrial Areas Foundation person
associatedWith Industrial Areas Foundation person
associatedWith Industrial Areas Foundation. corporateBody
associatedWith International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen, and Helpers of America. corporateBody
associatedWith Jones, Nick. person
associatedWith Koeler, Dave. person
associatedWith League of United Latin American Citizens. corporateBody
associatedWith Lopez, Ignacio. person
associatedWith Lyons, Mark. person
associatedWith Macry, Barbara. person
associatedWith Martinez, David. person
associatedWith McCarthy, Mary. person
associatedWith McGowan, Blain. person
associatedWith McNeil, Larry B. person
associatedWith Medina, Eliseo. person
associatedWith Mendoza, Dolores. person
associatedWith Mork, Ray. person
associatedWith Munroy, Sol. person
associatedWith National Farm Worker Ministry. corporateBody
associatedWith National Farm Workers Association. corporateBody
associatedWith National Farm Workers' Union. corporateBody
associatedWith Nava, Henry. person
associatedWith Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign. corporateBody
associatedWith Ortiz, Frank. person
associatedWith Papua New Guinea. National Statistical Office. corporateBody
associatedWith Parcel, Bob. person
associatedWith Pryner, Lois. person
associatedWith Reilly, Clinton. person
associatedWith Ríos, Tony. person
associatedWith Rodrigo, John. person
associatedWith Rodríguez, Arturo. person
associatedWith Roybal, Edward Ross, 1916-2005. person
associatedWith Seema Aissen Weatherwax person
associatedWith State Relief Administration. corporateBody
associatedWith Survival Institute. corporateBody
associatedWith Tarango, Hector. person
associatedWith Tobin, Jo M. person
associatedWith Tuck, Ruth. person
associatedWith United Farm Workers. corporateBody
correspondedWith United Farm Workers of America. Information and Research Dept. corporateBody
correspondedWith United Farm Workers of America. Work Dept. corporateBody
associatedWith Warner Bros corporateBody
associatedWith War Relocation Authority. corporateBody
associatedWith Wyler, Barbara. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
California
Subject
Labor unions--Organizing
Labor
Mexican Americans
Agricultural laborers
Occupation
Activity

Person

Birth 1910

Death 1992

Information

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