This Is My Testimony...Dominique Maddox
Updated: Jul 16
My story starts in 1981 in Anchorage, Alaska during the crack epidemic ravishing the United States. The poison of crack-cocaine destroyed the family structure of many households, creating countless children raised by the rules of the streets - including me.
My earliest childhood memories are not pleasant. Honestly, I wish I didn’t remember them at all. My parents suffered from drug addiction and our home was not filled with happiness but with domestic violence, lack of food and instability.
I saw violence no child should see. Between 1st-2nd grades, I would always sleep with a quarter in my pocket, just in case I had to run out of the apartment and call the police and there were multiple occasions when the police were called to my home. This period in my life felt like a living in a Hell.
In 1990 my three sisters, my brother, and I, were taken into Alaska Child Protective Services. Shortly after this life-changing event, my Grandmother, Mary Maddox, moved from San Jose, California to Anchorage to take custody of us. That was the first time I had ever met her. The first statement she made to me was, “I know you have experienced a tough life, I’m here now and you can be a child now.” It felt like God had sent me an Angel on earth. She would legally adopt us in 1993.
We moved to a 3-bedroom apartment no bigger than 1400 sq. ft.; there was one bathroom for six kids, and two adults. Most times our apartment had anywhere between 8-14 people residing in the tight living space. I lived in this apartment from 3rd grade to 8th grade. Although during this time I had a better living situation, due to the drug addictions my family members suffered, violence was still present. We struggled financially and I can remember having to line up at church food pantries and using food stamps. My parents were out in the streets battling their drug addictions and were really not around except if they needed a place to crash for a couple days.
I didn’t have much of a home during those years so I started to hustle in any way I could to get money. I started collecting sports cards, shoveling snow, washing cars, and even stealing from stores and rolling dice for money. I always had personal goals and dreams beyond my environment and I started to imagine the lifestyle I wanted in the future.
Despite the lifestyle I imagined, I went on to spend the first two years of high school making decisions that could have easily put me in jail. My cousins and friends my age and older were already selling crack cocaine, carrying guns, and hanging out where drugs were being made and sold. This environment was normal to me, but after seeing the destruction it did to my family, I never allowed myself to sell dope.
I became a product of my environment and stopped caring about the consequences of my actions. My family wore the color red and aligned themselves with the gang known as the “Bloods.” I, too, began to embrace the lifestyle, clothes, music, and movies affiliated with gang mentality.
In 1998, I realized the culture I was surrounded by needed to change or I would end up in jail. I decided to transfer to a different high school to get away from some family members and the friends that were having a negative impact on my life. The high school was about 95% white and most of the kids came from money. Many of them were okay socially, but I did experience my share of racism. Luckily, playing football helped me acclimate and be accepted by the students. I led the school to two State Championships and set the Alaska state record with 395 rushing yards in a single game. During the success of my senior year I would visit my mom in jail multiple times, which never allowed me to forget what I had overcome.
In 2000, I received a football scholarship to Morehouse College and packed my bags for Atlanta. Moving to Atlanta and seeing so many black men from different backgrounds was inspiring. I was suffering from PTSD from my childhood and didn’t realize it at the time. Very few people knew about my dark, personal struggles because I wasn’t comfortable talking about my feelings and emotions. It was at Morehouse that I became a man. Morehouse College saved my life.
Today I’m the Founder and President of EATS Restaurant Brokers and www.EATSbrokers.com. After working with one of the nation’s largest Restaurant Brokerage Firms for 7.5 years, I decided it was time to bring a new flavor to the Restaurant Brokerage Industry. In November 2019, I opened up the First Black-Owned Restaurant Brokerage Firm in the state of Georgia and one of the few in the nation. I specialize in selling restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. My goal is to allow African-Americans to join my firm and learn restaurant brokerage.
I understand I’m here to break generational family curses, break glass ceilings and be an example for children raised in institutions that were tough like mine. I have learned not to use my upbringing as an excuse as why I can’t, but to use it as fuel to reach my dreams and break down barriers.
If my life story affects one person in a positive way, it is worth sharing! I have not always been comfortable sharing my story, but I hope my courage to speak out will change or inspire someone else’s life.