Monday, June 30 2014, 08:22 AM EDT
Pastor Paul McDaniel's Legacy
Pastor Paul McDaniel will walk the steps to the wooden pulpit one last time Sunday morning. He will give his final sermon, retiring after being the head of the Second Missionary Baptist Church for 48 years.
"I was convinced that God had so called me to minister here," said Pastor Paul McDaniel.
He's been a pastor at three other churches, coincidentally all named, "Second Baptist." He preached in New York and New Jersey before coming to Chattanooga.
"I don't think they had a pizza shop when we came here, I don't think they had a submarine shop," said McDaniel.
In 1966, McDaniel moved his family down South, in the heat of the Civil Rights movement. At this point in time, The Brainerd high school band still wearing Confederate uniforms.
McDaniel started preaching at the Second Missionary Baptist Church and getting involved in the community.
"The fight wasn't over the struggle wasn't over, we had much to do," said McDaniel.
He stayed with the church when it moved in 1975,to its current location, on the east side of Chattanooga.
He worked to break down barriers, becoming chair of the "Unity Group," a civil rights organization.
"Gradually I became more and more involved but always seeking to keep my focus on the well being of the people especially the black community that was under represented," said McDaniel.
He then became a Hamilton County Commissioner, making national history. He won a US Supreme Court case overturning a state law. Previously, ministers were not allowed to hold an elected office.
"I went in to help people not to get a position for myself and such but be in a position to help people," said McDaniel.
He earned the unique opportunity to influence both the black and white community.
"He has played as a father figure in my life, and just as a pastor figure in my life, he's always had my back, even when I did wrong, he's always had my back," said Kadarius Scott, church member for six years.
"He's a ...I would say, a big man ... not in his statue, but in his heart and guidance ... spiritual guidance too," said Doris Ervin, a church member for 40 years.
Despite taking on additional jobs, Pastor McDaniel says he always stayed true to the reason he moved his family down south in 1966.
"Remembering that my first calling has always been the ministry, and I have never hesitated to say that," said McDaniel.