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Civil Rights pioneer Paul McDaniel has ministered to Chattanooga for 48 years; now he’s stepping back

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (Times Free Press) -

At 11 a.m. the deacons walked into the sanctuary singing an old gospel hymn in perfect harmony. No music.

Then the piano player started on the keys. Older women wearing hats walked toward the front to take their seats in the large sanctuary that was barely filling. The smell of eggs and bacon wafted from the cafeteria.

Then right after the offering was being taken up, after the children sang, the reverend, in his long black robe striped with African colors, walked from a side of the room to the pulpit.

For 48 years the Rev. Paul A. McDaniel has spoken his mind and the word of the Lord from this wooden pulpit. At the mostly black Second Missionary Baptist Church in East Chattanooga's Churchville community, he has plunged generations of new believers in baptism, prayed for the sick, called for benevolence and buried old friends and boys too young to die.

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