Celebrating 100 Years of Oakland Technical High School
Audrie Ingram-Rhodes ’70
My Tech memories are from the year 1968 and 1969. All the girls and the boys set a precedent for girls being allowed to wear pants to school. We all marched to the Board of Education on 2nd Avenue, the girls dressed in pants, the boys dressed in skirts and dresses, to protest about girls not being able to wear pants to school in cold classes and weather. They finally agreed and we were allowed to wear pants to school!
I also remember our music teacher who became the first black symphony conductor or maestro here in the Bay Area. I can’t remember his name, but he was always referred to in the press as “the first black Maestro.”
Another little tidbit: the front of the yearbook of 1969 and 1970 is a picture of my future husband, Earl Rhodes. He wore a big Afro and liked to be caught on any camera shot.
When I was 3 years old and our family moved from Richmond to Oakland, we lived with Huey Newton’s family. He was a weird kid then. He shaved his hair off when he was in junior high school because he wanted to be different. His father was a preacher and one of the brothers is the Dean at Merritt College. When Huey came to Tech in 1969 to speak, it started a riot! White kids got beaten up and a couple of teachers too. The office where the cashier was located was broken into and the school was trashed. The kids left school. Some picked up their brothers and sisters from the school down the street and followed Huey Newton to Merritt College (on Grove Street at the time) and along the way, kids trashed stores like Vern which is no longer there. We all rallied at Merritt to hear more of Huey and the Black Panthers’ speeches.