NAACP President Bob RossExcerpts from – 2010 article, “County NAACP Elects New President.”

A native of Philadelphia, Ross moved to Prince George’s County in 2001 on a temporary job assignment and permanently relocated in 2003. He quickly became involved in his Surratts Garden community in Clinton, and eventually joined the PTA at Surrattsville High School, where his son attended school. From there, he rose through the ranks of the county and eventually statewide PTA organizations.

After dropping out of high school in 1963, Ross joined the Army and served until 1969. When he wasn’t deployed abroad, he was stationed at Fort Benning in Georgia, where he recalls often encountering racial discrimination, from having to turn his car around to avoid a Ku Klux Klan rally to seeing signs along the road warning that a particular town would hang black visitors passing through.

He received a bachelor’s degree in community development in 1976 from Penn State University, where he served in numerous student affairs and community advocacy groups. After college, he took a job as a locomotive engineer for the Consolidated Rail Corporation and later led his local union chapter.

In 1995, Ross helped organize logistics for the Million Man March in Washington, D.C. The rally, he said, inspired him to quit his six-figure job at Conrail.

“It was a single charge: You go back to your community to be a better father, a better husband and work in your community,” he said.

He worked on community development programs for the next few years in some of Philadelphia’s least-served neighborhoods. He returned to the transportation industry in 1999 as a service representative for Alston Transportation, which eventually brought him to Prince George’s County.

Ross married Catherine Taggart Ross, also a longtime community activist, in 2005.