C. Freddye Ross
When you meet Freddye Ross, you can expect to see a woman of elegant simplicity from her beautifully coiffed hair to her tapered fingernails. You might never suspect that she is, at the same time, a powerhouse of energy and diligence! Love of family, love of beauty, and love of justice are the motivating forces that drive our VP, Freddye Ross.
Freddye speaks with pride of her Native American and Ethiopian ancestry. Her mother's people come from the Apache Nation, her father's people from Ethiopia. From both her parents, Freddye was taught to appreciate all people, both those who were family and kin and those who were different from her. It is no surprise that Freddye is a NAACP Freedom Fighter!
Freddye was born on a 100-acre farm in Arkansas where she lived her first 14 years. Memories include the many winters when Freddye's dad shared the harvest from their bountiful farm and the meat from the hog he raised by inviting people to "winter" with the family. Accommodations for sleeping were pallets lain on the floor.
Other memories include riding horseback and, in spite of her mother's words, Don't play rough, proving herself to be a good athlete...good at basketball and touch-football, where Freddye could outrun many of the boys. At the same time, Freddye mastered the domestic arts from her mother and grandmother. As a married woman with four children, Freddye sewed her own curtains, cushions, and upholstery as well as her children's clothes.
Her dad, Nat, born in 1892, the 17th child in his family, was a successful farmer and barber& tall, with light brown eyes, curly hair, bushy eyebrows, and a sense of humor inherited by his daughter! Freddye was strongly influenced by her maternal grandmother who lived with the family. "Grandma was famous for her candy cake, decorated with gumdrops". Just as famous for her method of preparing to bake the cake: she lined up the ingredients in a circle behind the bowl. As each ingredient was used, grandmother "stepped it back" so she would know which ingredient had been used. Little Freddye used to stand by the table where all this was happening, her eyes barely able to see the action. Even today, if you see Freddye set the table for our NAACP Christmas party, you will hear her recount the words of her grandmother calling for everything to be just so! , Make it colorful and beautiful. Creating a beautiful home is a value Freddye enjoys passing on to her grandchildren!
Freddye met her husband, Fred, our NAACP president, while waiting for her sister to arrive at the bus station for Christmas break. The bus was late so Freddye and her friend went for a cherry coke where they met two nice guys. When Fred was introduced, he stood up, placed his right arm across his waist, and bowed, saying, Greetings. The girls didn't dare to laugh but touched each other under the table. Clearly, they had met an unusual guy! Both Freddye's father and mother loved Fred from the start because of his wonderful manners. Freddye remembers her dad giving her this advice, "don't start anything you can't keep up". Freddye and this unusual guy had their first date in church and fifty years later, church is where you will find the Ross' every Sunday morning!
Freddye and Fred have a family of four children, three daughters and a son, all of whom are college graduates with post graduate degrees and fine professions and families of their own. When the Ross' gather at holidays, it is like their own United Nations with in-laws from Germany, Turkey and Jamaica; Ireland and France are also represented.
Fred and Freddye met segregation in their own unique style. As an Air Force family, they needed to travel across the United States with their four children from 1960 to 1981. Jim Crow was still in place with motels, hotels, and restaurants refusing to serve people of color. The service station restrooms and State Parks were off limits, reserved for "WHITE ONLY". The Ross' family packed cold food, drinking water, and water for washing in near-by woods. Finally, rather than risk further insult from "Whites Only" signs, they bought an RV with all of the amenities of home! Now, their family could travel comfortably across the United States while serving their country.
Freddye is a woman of many talents! As she gained a new job, she learned new skills which paved the way for the next job. Freddye's work career involved her as teacher and businesswoman, beginning as a Recreational therapist for North Carolina State. She became Program Director for Malstrom Air Force Base in Malstrom Montana. In Texas, Freddye was a sales associate and spokes-model for Beal's Department Store. At Division of Evans Products, she was in sales and manager of her own department. Also in Texas, she was a teacher for pregnant teens. At Pease Air Force base, she oversaw the Family Daycare Program, coordinating its guidelines with state standards for home daycare. She was recreational therapist in mental health for North Carolina State Hospital. In all her jobs, Freddye was a diligent worker, always moving toward advancement.
Using her business skills and experience, Freddye has woven her eye for beauty into her role of fundraiser for our seacoast NAACP branch. For seven years, she has, almost single-handedly, coordinated our annual Dinner-Dance, designing it exquisitely and bringing, to the branch, much-needed funds. In her pursuit of justice, Freddye has shared her perceptions and insights with the many organizations, which have called on Fred for collaboration. The Ross' handsome red caravan can be seen approaching the parking lot of a local Police department, the New Hampshire State Prison, the Governor's office or the office of the president of the University of New Hampshire. It might also be making its way to Lewiston, Maine in sub-zero weather to support the Somalian community there. Always it will arrive early and always with Freddye in the front seat. Whenever she can, Freddye accompanies our busy president, inspiring both his and our appreciation!