Cooper: Another deserving honor for Rev. Paul McDaniel

The Rev. Paul McDaniel speaks with others before he is honored with the Jocelyn D. Wurzburg Civil Rights Legacy Award during a Hamilton County Commission meeting on Wednesday, March 21, 2018 in Chattanooga, Tenn. McDaniel served as the pastor of Second Missionary Baptist Church in Chattanooga for 48 years as well as a community leader and advocate for equality.

The Rev. Paul McDaniel came to Chattanooga more than five decades ago to change souls, and he not only did that but also changed hearts and minds alike.

The former longtime pastor of Second Missionary Baptist Church was honored by the Tennessee Human Rights Commission Wednesday with its Jocelyn D. Wurzburg Civil Rights Legacy Award.

McDaniel, now 87, arrived in Chattanooga several years after lunch-counter sit-ins had been staged and Jim Crow laws had largely been struck down, but he quickly understood there was still work to do in the field of civil rights for black Chattanoogans.

Through the years, he not only served on the state Human Rights Commission, but he also was the plaintiff in a suit that went to the United States Supreme Court that allowed clergy members to be elected to office.