Born in the coal mining town of Blossburg, Pa., in 1913, Laura Ross (nee Kaplowitz) grew up in poverty as one of seven children of Lithuanian immigrants. In about 1932, Ross married Harry Naddell, a wine merchant, and settled into a comfortable life Brooklyn, N.Y., raising a son and daughter. During the Second World War, however, she became intensely politicized through her work with Russian War Relief, joining the Communist Party and eventually divorcing her les radical husband. Moving to the Boston area, she married Max Ross in 1963, an attorney for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, and became a noted presence in a wide range of political activities, working for civil rights, the antiwar movement, and for many years, helping to run the Center for Marxist Education in Central Square , Cambridge. Perhaps most notably, between 1974 and 1984, Ross ran for Congress three times on the Communist Party ticket, taking on the powerful incumbent Tip O’Neill and winning almost a quarter of the vote. An activist to the end, Ross died in Cambridge on August 5, 2007.
The Ross Papers contain a variety of materials documenting the activism of a Boston-based member of the Communist Party USA. Strongly concentrated in the period 1967-1990, the collection includes membership information, party platforms, minutes from various district committee meetings, course information and syllabi, information on local politicians, flyers, calls to action, petitions, legal proceedings during plant strikes, and some correspondence and course materials relating to the Center for Marxist Education. There is a sizable amount of information on President Ronald Reagan, including calls for the abolition of “Reaganomics” and an absolute end to the Nuclear Arms Race, and a large amount of material regarding the Communist Party of the USA and the People’s Daily World newspaper.
- Center for Marxist Education (Cambridge, Mass.)
- Communist Party of the United States of America
- Peace movements--Massachusetts
- People’s Daily World
- United States--Politics and government--1981-1989