The United House of Prayer for All People was founded by evangelist Charles Manuel "Sweet Daddy" Grace in 1919. The Church was open to all who wanted to join, based on its message of spiritual perfection and self-improvement, but most of its members were African-Americans from economically depressed areas who saw Daddy Grace as a leader and miracle worker. During the early 1920s he traveled the East Coast establishing churches, and in Charlotte he started a tent at Third and Caldwell streets in 1926 as his Mother House. In 1927 the building seen here (below) in the 300 block of South McDowell Street in Brooklyn became the main branch of the church, and it quickly gained a strong foothold. Each year Daddy Grace would come to Charlotte, where he would hold court at a lavish parade and perform revivals and baptisms. This photo of the church is from 1954.
Daddy Grace died in 1960, and the funeral procession made it to Charlotte for his last visit. The United House of Prayer organization was taken over by Bishop Walter "Sweet Daddy" McCullough, who joined the church in Charlotte at the age of fourteen.
The Mother House on McDowell Street was torn down during urban renewal. The site is now part of Marshall Park, a 5-acre open green space that is part of the city's Governmental Plaza and contains a reflecting pond, an amphitheater, and three memorials.
Part of this land is involved in the land swap deal to construct the new Brooklyn Village. The United House of Prayer still exists and and now has more than 1.5 million members and over 150 branches in twenty-five states, including seven branches in Charlotte.
Until next week!
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Information taken from:
Charlotte Then and Now, Brandon Lunsford, 2013.
“We have to do with the past only as we can make it useful to the present and the future.” – Frederick Douglass