Robert Woods

The son of a coal miner, Robert Woods grew up in West Virginia and was blissfully unaware of race relation problems. As a young man with big ambitions, Robert relocated to San Francisco, where his eyes were opened to the problems that plagued his city. He went on to became a powerful voice for his community — and still is to this day.


Robert Woods

72 years old
Born in West Virginia
One of nine children

An ambitious man becomes a voice for his community

When Robert came to San Francisco in 1967, he thought it was the most beautiful place he had ever seen. A stark contrast from the small West Virginia town he had grown up in, the high-rise buildings inspired him to pursue architecture.

Though he had no awareness of race relation problems growing up, Robert quickly had his eyes opened to the troubled political landscape in San Francisco. He saw gentrification happen before his eyes. Robert watched as Fillmore Street was demolished, and black business owners wept in the street as everything they had worked for was taken away from them.

Today, Robert is still a powerful advocate for his community. He has spent countless hours giving back to Bayview-Hunters Point, and doesn’t plan to stop. Hear more about his hard work in San Francisco in the ’70s — and his plans for the future.

“When I came out of that tunnel and saw San Francisco sitting there, it was by far the best thing I’ve ever seen.”