Celebrating 100 Years of Oakland Technical High School
Ron Williams ’60
Though he has a relatively low profile in the United States, Ron Williams is a well-known actor, singer, and performer in Germany, where he has lived for more than forty years. Williams joined the military after graduating from Tech and was stationed in Stuttgart as a military journalist. Though he spoke no German initially, he became fluent and started his career in the entertainment industry doing impressions and politically incorrect humor, which was not the norm in Germany at the time. Much of Williams’ career was devoted to exposing racism, which he has said was inspired by his own experiences. Besides his over 800 television appearances, radio, and other broadcast work, he has performed in stage musicals as Martin Luther King, Harry Belafonte, and Ray Charles, earning accolades and awards for his work.
I was an early “performer” during my High School days. There was an annual talent competiton held at the Oakland Auditorium each year between all Oakland High Schools. I think it was sponsored by “The Dad’s Club” (??)…Anyway, it was a pretty big deal to win as a singer. And since we couldn’t get our Bulldogs football team to ever defeat McClymonds High, Oakland High, etc. (if I remember right..) I decided to do my best to at least beat them at “the singing game”. As the winning soloist for Tech we won the Trophy!!!
In my Senior year I was chosen to run on the same ticket in our Student Body elections as a Candidate for Vice-President along with Oliver Brown as President. We won. In our R.O.T.C. (Reserve Officer’s Training Corps) Unit I was promoted to the rank of Captain which, belive it or not, gave me an edge during my later Army Training and Duty in the States and in Germany. Oakland Tech gave my life a brand new direction. I’d come from a very turbulent childhood with 5 Foster Homes and 5(!) Grade and 3(!) Junior High Schools and lots of moving around. Those final years spent at Tech really saved my youth and put me on a path in life that has proven to be the best I could ever have taken.