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M. H. Ross Papers
M. H. Ross Papers

Attending the Southern School for Workers at the age of 19 sparked Myron Howard "Mike" Ross's (1919-1987) interest in and involvement with the labor movement. Throughout his career, Ross worked with unions, including the United Mine Workers, the Mine, Mill, and Smelter workers, and the United Furniture Workers, as an organizer or arbitrator. Interested in politics, he ran for public office twice: once in 1940 for a seat on city council on the People's Platform in Charlotte, North Carolina, and again in 1948, for United States Congress on the Progressive Party ticket in North Carolina.

After the failed congressional campaign, Ross attended the University of North Carolina law school, graduating with honors, but was denied the bar on the grounds of “character” – he was suspected of being a communist. Later he attended the Columbia University School of Public Health which led to founding the Fairmont Clinic, a prepaid group practice in Fairmont, West Virginia, which had the mission of providing high quality medical care for coal miners and their families. Ross served as administrator of the Fairmont Clinic from 1958-1978. As a result of this work, Ross began researching coal mining, especially coal miners lifestyle, heritage, and the history of coal mining and disasters. He interviewed over one hundred coal miners and eventually began a manuscript (unfinished) about the history of coal mining. Working for the Rural Practice Program of the University of North Carolina from 1980 until 1987, Ross taught in the medical school until his retirement.

The M. H. Ross papers consists of campaign materials from congressional races held in 1940 and 1948, labor union activities, social and political research, coal mining research, including a large collection of coal miner oral histories, manuscripts and those related research files, office files, photographs, audio/visual materials, and personal and family oral histories.

The National Historical Publications and Records Commission awarded Georgia State University Library an Access to Historical Records a one-year grant in the amount of $48,865  to digitize the M. H. Ross papers. The total project cost of the matching grant is $110,119 and will continue through September 2018.

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