Bishop Charles M. "Sweet Daddy" Grace
1881(?) - 1960

One of the most charismatic and colorful of the "Black Messiahs" of early twentieth-century America was Charles M. "Sweet Daddy" Grace, a native of the Capeverdean island of Brava. Founding the United House of Prayer for All People in the 1920s, Bishop Grace would become the leader of a huge nationwide congregation and a man of great wealth. Today his church enjoys broad support within the African American community for its long tradition of feeding and clothing the poorest people in the community.

The Man and his Church

United House of Prayer Churches on the Web

The Music

Psalms 150

1 Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power.
2 Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness.
3 Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp.
4 Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.
5 Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.
6 Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.


"Last week, the Heritage Awards honored 11 uniquely American folk artists. Before I arrived in the East Room for the ceremony, I knew something out of the ordinary was going on. The doors in the White House were shaking. The chandeliers were quaking. And all because of the full-throttle, Gospel trombone music of one of the honorees -- Ed Babb and his band, the McCullough Sons of Thunder from the United House of Prayer in Harlem."

First Lady Hillary Clinton,
Sept. 30, 1997


"The instrumental 'voices' are arranged in three- and four-part harmonies with the lead horns playing on top of the run horns. The music builds slowly through songs to a sustained crescendo known as "thundering," with lead players improvising and blowing with great intensity."

Black Religion and Black Messiahs



Do you have a photograph or memory to share about Daddy Grace? Please contact Richard Leary at (508) 994-2903 or e-mail. Don't let this part of history and culture disappear. If you have an historic photo or other material relating to Daddy Grace or his ministry/church, please send it to me. I'll treat it with the utmost care, and return it immediately upon scanning or transcribing it. - RL

Richard Leary
609 Union St.
New Bedford, MA 02740

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