Reverend J.M. Gates was a fiery southern preacher, and a popular one. Of all preaching recordings made in the 1920s, and there were hundreds, approximately a quarter were made by Gates. The sermons were rife with promises of an angry God’s retribution upon mankind. We’re talking titles like Death’s Black Train is Coming and, for the kiddies, Will the Coffin Be Your Santa Claus? How popular was he? His 1945 funeral was the largest in Atlanta’s history at the time…and was only surpassed by Martin Luther King’s.


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