The Hackley Report: Notes from the Rev. Carlton Lynch leadership coronation—keynote address by the Rev. Al Sharpton

| September 28, 2015
Eric Hackley

Eric Hackley

By Eric D. Hackley 

Notes from the Sept. 21, Fort Wayne news conference with the Rev. Al Sharpton 

Brett Thomas WANE-TV NewsChannel 15:  I wanted to ask you about the National Action Network.

Sharpton: We have chapters in 102 cities that deal with civil rights, urban violence and economic issues in terms of finding jobs and creating businesses.  And, I’ve asked Rev. Lynch to form a chapter that would be tailored to the needs of this particular community. We are going to build a presence right here under his leadership that will deal with crime problems, jobs and economic development.

Our ability to have access to those in Washington as well as the private sector, we think we can help him begin to solve some of these problems.

The Rev. Al Sharpton (right) has charged the Rev. Carlton Lynch (left) with the responsibility of developing a Fort Wayne Chapter of the National Action Network.

The Rev. Al Sharpton (right) has charged the Rev. Carlton Lynch (left) with the responsibility of developing a Fort Wayne Chapter of the National Action Network.

Hackley: I’m Eric Hackley with Frost Illustrated. A lot of people think we’re beyond the Civil Rights Era. Why is it important for us to know our civil rights history and especially the history of the 1960s?

Sharpton:  I think it’s important because we’re not beyond that. I think if you look at the last year alone at the civil rights issues that have occurred around policing and the racial killing in Charleston which was not police related.

When you look at the disparity, blacks double the unemployment of whites… the president was talking about all that the other night.

We’re not out of it yet, but we’ve made a lot of progress.  But, we’ve got a long way to go.  Civil rights is not a fashion that goes in and out of season.  It is a need that has to be fulfilled and until it’s fulfilled, you will always have people like us.

If you read the criticisms of us, they are exactly the same as the people of the 1960s.  They call us agitators, troublemakers, divisive, the same adjectives.  I think you just have to be more committed than those against you are.

News-Sentinel reporter: Rev. Sharpton, I’m with the News-Sentinel of Fort Wayne.

You’ve been doing this for many, many years.  I was wondering how was it that you are able to keep doing what you’re doing for as long as you have and not giving up hope?

Sharpton:  Because I believe in what I’m doing. I believe this was my calling and is what I was born to do.  People said when President Obama was elected and started having me come to the White House, people said that now that I have White House access, I won’t be an activist any longer. They said now that I have a show on MSNBC, I won’t be marching anymore. I did marches in both Ferguson and Staten Island.

I don’t do what I’m doing to get somewhere, I’m already nationally known. I’ll be on Empire Wednesday night, but I’m here in Fort Wayne tonight because I believe in what I’m doing.  I’m not doing it to get somewhere, I’m doing it because I’m where I belong.

Hackley: One last question. During the 2015 Political Forums that I hosted or was videotaping, you would frequently hear “we don’t need Al Sharpton in Fort Wayne” from political candidates and audience members.  You’re called an agitator and many fear you may agitate Fort Wayne blacks to in someway demonstrate their agitation.

Sharpton:  We agitated people to have a great worship service tonight.  We agitated people to know that if they start getting down, God can lift them up. I just want you to look at the people who criticize and look at the people they’ve got, and look at the people who came out tonight.  And ask yourself, who has the standing in Fort Wayne?


Salute to the Rev. Carlton Lynch by Larry Lee, entrepreneur and civil rights activist

Larry Lee:  I’m here to pay a tribute and say thank you for the man who is responsible for bringing Al Sharpton to our town and that’s Carlton Lynch.  Folks, I’ve lived the last 61 of my 71 years in Fort Wayne.  I’m old enough to remember the days [of] names like Nickleson, Bledsoe, Clyde Adams, Jesse White, Charles Redd, strong, courageous “in the street activists” for civil rights and social justice. It seems like in the last 35 years, there has been somewhat of a void.

Some may say it’s because the causes of civil rights have disappeared.  We’re not concerned with school desegregation like we were 70’s.  Thirty-two years after Brown vs. the Board of Education here in the City of Churches, it’s amazing to reflect and recognize that it took a federal lawsuit to desegregate our elementary schools here in Fort Wayne.

The point is, there may not be the high profile causes of school desegregation that we confronted, but there’s discrimination, persecution and oppression that’s just a little below the surface, but it’s there.

It takes a lot of courage to understand that nothing of substance is gained or won through passivity.  Even asking, even demanding doesn’t get anything from the white man.  I’m talking about not only in this community or this country, but the world!  You look at India, South Africa, anyplace that’s populated by dark people, they  are being ruled and subjugated by the white man and the story is the same.

Fortunately, we have in our community a person who realizes that at times it takes confrontation, and that doesn’t mean violence. I think this gentleman has learned the valuable lesson from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as far as how to go about things. But he’s not timid.  He’s not passive.  He’s courageous and I’m referring to Carlton Lynch.  He’s done so much in a very short time in terms of focusing the spotlight on the injustice, the denial of equal protection and equal opportunity to people of color in our community. And for that, I salute you.

To see the Sept. 21, Fort Wayne news conference with the Rev. Al Sharpton in its entirety, visit


To see Larry Lee’s tribute to the Rev. Carlton Lynch, visit


To see the Rev. Al Sharpton’s speech in its entirety visit 

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Category: Civil Rights, Local, National, Spiritual Matters

About the Author ()

Eric Hackley is a veteran independent journalist, television show host and producer focusing largely on history, particularly 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

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