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As a young man, Charles Manuel Grace sailed by ship from West Africa and arrived in the Unites States sometime around 1903.
He traveled throughout the eastern US and spread his gospel. During the 1920s, he visited the thriving city of Charlotte and saw an opportunity to begin a new church that would reach out to the area's growing population.
Grace observed the success of of the tent crusades of the white churches in the 1920s and realized these crusades ignored the black community. Grace began holding tent revivals and winning converts, both black and white. Eventually, he formed the United House of Prayer for All People.
News of the revivals and Grace's charismatic leadership spread. Soon thousands of worshippers from around the eastern US were followers of "Sweet Daddy" Grace. His fancy clothes and cars attracted attention everywhere he went.
Grace later moved his home to Washington, D.C., but returned to Charlotte each September. The parades that celebrated his visits became legendary for their pageantry and fervor.
Bishop C. M. Grace died in 1960, and his body was returned to Charlotte for one final parade through the streets of the city where his church began.
Today the United House of Prayer for All People has grown to include more than 100 congregations across the country.
The African American Album: The Black Experience in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Vol. 2. Charlotte, NC: Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, 1998. Computer optical disc, 4 3/4 in.