Rich in unity and heritage; hundreds of families, schools, and businesses once flourished in this vibrant and uplifting African-American community. Sycamore Hill Missionary Baptist Church was the heart of the community - a place to gather, worship, sing, learn and celebrate.
Blessed with spiritual leadership throughout its history, the church became much more than a house of worship - a center of social, political, and economic activity, a refuge to nurture souls and help others in need. This monument is meant to recognize the spiritual heart of the community as well as the foundations of faith that remained for many generations.
Formerly known as "Downtown" in Greenville, North Carolina, a vibrant African-American community once lived, worked, played, and worshipped here. During the urban redevelopment era of the late 1960s, the houses and Sycamore Hill Missionary Baptist Church were razed, and Downtown residents were displaced. Many former community members remain in Greenville, active and connected to one another.
Designed as a contemplative space for healing and remembrance, Sycamore Hill Gateway Plaza commemorates Downtown and its close-knit community.
Although Downtown residents moved to other areas in and around Greenville, many remain connected to one another and memories of their old neighboorhood are strong. Many continue to worship ar Sycamore Hill Missionary Baptist Church, now located on Hooker Road. They return to this site from all over the city with a sense of pride that runs deep in what was created here - loving relationships, honored traditions, and cultural and religious practices that lasted for generations.
Honoring this historic African-American neighborhood and providing a place for reflection are essential parts of healing and remembrance.