'Sweet Daddy's' Memorial Day Tradition Lives On

Askia Muhammad | 6/1/2012, 7:46 p.m.

I was first acquainted with the church when I attended the funeral of Bishop Grace's successor, Bishop Walter McCullough. It was as joyful and raucous a home-going service as I have ever seen. Sharon Pratt, then mayor of Washington even delivered a eulogy.

I am also glad that the church stood firm against maybe the most persuasive force of gentrification and urban renewal ever faced by any inner-city church leader, the encroachment into the church's residential neighborhood by the construction of the new Walter E. Washington Convention Center. To his eternal credit, then presiding Bishop S.C. Madison did not yield an inch to the developers, not one apartment given up at Canaanland Apartments at 6th & M streets in Northwest. God Bless his soul!

The Rev. Willie Wilson, pastor of Washington's Union Temple Baptist Church and a co-chairman with the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Million Man March, said of Bishop Madison: "He was a supreme example that churches can play a role in the housing and economic development needs of our community. He as well as the United House of Prayer, continued the historic position of setting up hospitals, banks and stores for the community, and it came out of the Black church. We need to emulate more of what he did," the Rev. Wilson told James Wright of the Afro-American newspaper.

Long live that great tradition and that Great Black Ministry.

The historic Memorial Day Parade by members of the United House of Prayer for All People will long be remembered like the Marcus Garvey Day parades nearly a century ago, as a special moment in Black History.