The Stanford Media Preservation Lab has recently finished reformatting the 440 audiocassettes in the Fred Ross papers, an immense body of audio documenting the training meetings held by labor organizer Fred Ross Sr. Housed in Special Collections, the digitized audio focuses extensively on house meetings in the 1970s and 80s, an organizing technique Ross developed and taught. A small portion of the tapes include Cesar Chavez, who Ross hired and trained in the early 50s. Chavez later went on to form the National Farm Workers Association, but Ross always remained a mentor and strong influence. "As time went on, Fred became sort of my hero," Chavez said. "I saw him organize and I wanted to learn."
While the items are not available online yet, Special Collections is working with Fred Ross Jr. to open up these recordings to the world. For now, they can be accessed by visiting the Special Collections reading room. There is strong support to award Fred Ross with a posthumous Medal of Freedom. Chavez received one in 1994, and we will find out this month if Ross' turn has come.