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The House of the Lord Church where Black Political Power and Culture was Born and Nurtured Part 3

As God would have it, or if you’re not religious, a strange coincidence happened as I was reading Errol’s article again. I came across articles that were written by Earl Caldwell and Frasier which records the happenings at our church. Errol was looking back; Earl and Frasier were writing in real-time. I thought it would be as interesting to you, and of course educational, if we compare Errol’s article with Caldwell and Frasier.

Earl Caldwell who was a columnist for the Daily News wrote the article Rev. Daughtry fit to be a King.

“It was warm that day. It was near the end of September and late that morning at City Hall the police began to gather. First, they were on the steps out front and then more of them came and made long lines that stretched along both sides of the building.

They came in old green buses and in cars, and their numbers continued to swell, and by noon, the police were everywhere. They built a solid wall of blue around the block.

“What’s going on?” someone asked. “It looks like the President must be coming to town.”

It was the kind of show the police make when something important is about to take place. On this morning though the show was not for a president. It was for a preacher- the Rev. Herbert Daughtry.

Not much is said about it, but there is a movement on the rise now in New York City and the Rev. Daughtry has emerged as the lightning rod for what is building.

Blacks turn to church

It is an old story. Almost always when there is a crisis and leadership is absent, blacks turn to the church. Once it was Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Then it was the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. And now, out of Brooklyn comes Herbert Daughtry.

“He’s ready.” Sam Pinn, who heads Brooklyn CORRE, says. “He’s ready to lead and he wants to lead.”

Sam Pinn has no reservations about Daughtry.

“He has charisma, courage, and intelligence,” he said.

“And he’s tireless. These are characteristics you find in great leaders says there is no Dr. King, now there is Rev. Daughtry.

It is not an accident that it is often ministers, not elected officials, who rise as leaders in the black community. The elected official is not free. These are the politicians, and politicians have obligations. Elections must be won. But with the minister, it’s different. The minister answers only to the church. Style of its own King and Powell were Baptists. Daughtry is Pentecostal. It is a different kind of church. It has a rhythm, a heat, a style of its own. It is built around music and the services are long, open emotional affairs. In the Pentecostal church, there is always shouting. The House of the Lord Pentecostal Church where Daughtry presides is located in the old brick building at 415 Atlantic Ave. in Brooklyn. It is separated from an abandoned Ex-Lax plant by a parking lot and surrounded by a community that is mostly black. It is not a big church. The numbers in fact are small. There are at most a few hundred members but it is a church of activists. What you notice about it first is its youth and then you see its energy. On Sunday, Daughtry’s church is busy all day. And during the week, there is seldom a night where there is not some sort of rally or meeting or service. There are political education meetings, Black United Front meetings, international forums, strategy sessions, and religious services. The issues that Daughtry has taken hold of our old ones. They involve the police and housing and the lack of jobs and the condition of the schools. The issues do not change. Even the methods he uses are not new. In his style, Daughtry has borrowed from King. In his background, there is something of Malcolm. And in his approach, there is a bit of the Panthers. The Panthers were poets. Often their movement was theatre. “Right on,” the Panthers would shout. “Power to the people” was their slogan. They published a newspaper. They had uniforms. And always they were handing out pamphlets. Daughtry’s troops – except for a security guard—are not uniformed. But they have developed a style and slogans. Occasionally when they march, they sing old movement songs. But mostly there is a defiant chant. “We’re fired up, can’t take no more.” That is the chant. Sometimes they bounce it back and forth. First, one group shouts, “we’re fired up,” and the other responds, “can’t take no more.” The slogans are not an accident. At a meeting at a church last week, during an open session, when all matters were open for discussion, it was suggested that a new slogan be created. “No.” Father Amon-Ra, an assistant pastor at Daughtry’s church, said. “We’ve got to keep this slogan. When black people talk about being fired up, white people understand that. They always understand blacks when they talk about fire.” Daughtry is not the great speaker that King was. But he is effective. He knows how to manipulate the emotions of a crowd. When he raises his voice to shout, “Enough is enough is enough,” he has firm control of his audience. He is a few inches less than being a six-footer. His build is slender. He appears younger than his 47 years. His eyes are bright and quick and questioning. They say that he’s been there, that he knows what he’s into.

To be continued…

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