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Patti Roberts Papers
GLC 111  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
Patricia (Patti) Rose Roberts was a longtime San Francisco Bay Area resident and civil rights and labor attorney. The papers document her interest in prison reform, George Jackson and Stephen Bingham, comparable worth and pay equity for women, gay and lesbian issues in the workplace, and employment discrimination. The collection contains subject files, photographs; books and magazines, and posters and ephemera.
Background
Patricia (Patti) Rose Roberts was a longtime San Francisco Bay Area resident, an out lesbian, and a civil rights and labor attorney. She was born in Far Rockaway, Queens, New York, on November 13, 1946. She graduated from Brooklyn College in 1967 and went to UC Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of Law. She graduated from Boalt in 1970 with a J.D. degree and a desire to use her legal skills to help those traditionally without representation. That same year, she formed a collective Oakland household where she and others, including Stephen Bingham, lived. While others moved out, Ms. Roberts lived in the home for the next 41 years. Roberts began her career working on behalf of prisoners at the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), and remained active with the organization, serving as president of the Bay Area chapter and on the local NLG board. While continuing to do political work with the guild, Roberts began work as the head of the Women's Litigation Unit at San Francisco Neighborhood Legal Aid, representing poor women on a wide range of legal issues. Following her time at Legal Aid, Ms. Roberts founded and co-directed the Comparable Worth Project in Oakland, which pioneered much of the earliest legal work on the issue of pay inequity rooted in gender and race bias. In 1977, Patti became a founding board member of the Lesbian Rights Project, later re-named the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and later served as NCLR interim executive director. NCLR is a nonprofit organization that was created to promote LGBT rights through litigation, public policy advocacy and public education. Roberts began private practice as an employment discrimination attorney in 1990 and also taught LGBT, legal, and labor studies at City College of San Francisco and San Francisco State University Extension. As a lawyer, her practice gravitated toward the defense of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights as well as women's and minority rights in the Bay Area. During her entire career, Roberts remained an outspoken advocate for feminist and LGBT rights. Patti Roberts died unexpectedly on January 7, 2011.
Extent
8 cubic feet, 1 oversized framed certificate, 2 map folders
Restrictions
Copyright and literary rights retained by the Estate of Patti Roberts.
Availability
The collection is available for use during San Francisco History Center hours, with photographs available during Photo Desk hours.