THE HACKLEY REPORT by Eric Donald Hackley
Rose Broadnax: I count it a blessing to be here today. I did not come here to speak. I’m just here as an observer. I was touched by the lady that gave a grand testimony on how All Mighty God delivers. I was also dazzled by the brother who got up and expressed the effort to end Willie Lynch and all the practitioners of this diabolical scheme against human beings.
I thank All Mighty God for Mr. Hackley. He kind of like nudged me on to come up here. I’ve been blessed by God in many ways. My slave name is Roosevelt Broadnax, but I go as the “Rose.” I want you to know a little bit about my life. I was born in Alabama in a little town called Brent. I was a short person, the second shortest person in the school. I wanted to grow. I had tall uncles, I mean they were real tall.
I asked my mother at a very young age, I said, “Momma, what must I do so that I may grow tall like the rest of them?” She said, “Rose, in the garden out there we plant the our fruits and vegetables so they will rise and grow tall. The only thing I can tell you to do is to get up early every morning and stand in this back door, which faced the east, and pray as the sun rises. I had no idea what that meant at that particular time, but I was determined. So, every morning, they would find me praying to God that I would grow. I never even noticed the growth of God until later.
I’m not the best of persons. As a matter of fact, I consider myself foolish. If it wasn’t for the grace of God, I wouldn’t be here. I’ve been up and down, up and down, and either up or down. The presence of God’s grace has been good to me.
For the brothers and the sisters who wants something to be done about the condition of our people, not only in Fort Wayne, but in the world, must understand that these conditions have been put down by Willie Lynch causing so many of our people to just go in ways that only a God can bring us back from. So I want to say to all of you, if you want to reform, it will be by the grace of God. Look, I was in jail, smoking cigarettes, and I said that I wanted to quit and they laughed and said, “naw, you won’t quit.” But, I said “I will quit,” ’cause I took the very cigarettes they put out here—and they had me hooked good. I felt the withdrawal, but I did not put them to the back. I set the pack in front of me and I did not touch another one at the age of 22. Now I am the age 57, by the grace of God. And I haven’t touched a cigarette since. But, I took the cigarettes and used them as a wedge to make me strong. See, either I win this battle and beat the cigarettes, or the cigarettes win this battle and defeat me. And I wasn’t gonna be defeated—and that’s the way to get off of any drug or addiction that you may have. Make it weigh you—it will bring out the strength in you.
I thank brother Hackley for giving me the opportunity to stand before all of you today. And I thank each and every cameramen that stand forth, and I pray that God bless you all.
EH: Before you step away here, there’s one thing you didn’t touch on. You were doing repair work in someone’s home today. How did you acquire your gift of carpentry? You can do things with ease that others have no ability to do.
Rose: I owned a house when I was married, and the roof was leaking. And, I was trying to get somebody to fix the roof and they were giving me the runaround, so I said, “aaahh,” (I was working on automobiles at that time). I thought I wanted auto mechanics for a trade, but I decided to do houses. So I got hooked up with a small company called Architectural Builders, and they built houses from the ground up, brand new. I worked with them for several years, building one house after another. Then I left building new houses to rehab with another friend for another several years. And, that’s how my knowledge was acquired, primarily through the construction of new homes.
EH: Often times when people go from one career direction to another direction, it gets awfully intimidating because there’s so much to learn in obtaining mastery. A lot of people look at the big picture and say, “Oh my God, I can never master this.” So, how did you acquire the discipline, energy and wherewithal to stay focused to learn what you now know?
Rose: Brother Hackley, it was a natural for me. This is something I wanted to do.
I would be talking to young guys and they’d be telling me about jobs and projects that requires a lot of tedious effort, and they would say, “no, I ain’t getting into that no more,” but I’d be eager to go. I like to see something that is not fixed become repaired; I like to see something old be turned into new again. I get that joy out of seeing the transformation.
EH: How did you abandon the slave mentality and realize the importance of developing you own personal skill set?
Rose: Well, this is what happened to me, I read a book by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad called “Message to the Black Man,” and I think that everybody should read this book. This book said that, a time will come in America where the white man would not be able to take care of everybody on welfare and stuff like that. He said that, “we should start doing something for ourselves.” Now, there are some brothers that I know, that we all took this seriously; and we began to try to develop ways and techniques to make some money—legally, to survive without having to beg or lay up at the footstool of somebody, asking him for something that we can do for ourselves. What we as a people failed to do, is to do something for ourselves.
We must be resurrected from the dead slave-keeping mentality of Willie Lynch. We must be resurrected! Resurrection is the key to our eternity. Other than that, we will be slaves forever. We must defeat Willie Lynch, we have no other choice. Our children depend on this, so, we have no choice. We got to defeat it, and we’re up here fighting it today and we will defeat it!
EH: Thank you very much.
Rose is owner of Rose’s Complete home repair: Specializing in everything from roofing to sidewalks and everything in between (260) 433-4051.
Eric Hackley is a veteran independent journalist, television show host and producer focusing on family history in the black community. His award-winning public access television shows have featured a host of local and national icons. Hackley can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared in the Aug. 21 print edition.