Civil War  |  Historic Site

Sycamore Hill Gateway Plaza/Sycamore Hill Missionary Baptist Church

North Carolina

272 West 1st Street
Greenville, NC 27858
United States

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This heritage site is a part of the American Battlefield Trust's Road to Freedom: North Tour Guide app, which showcases sites integral to the Black experience during the Civil War era. Download the FREE app now.

Sycamore Hill Gateway Plaza, Greenville, N.C.
Sycamore Hill Gateway Plaza, Greenville, N.C.

On the eve of the Civil War, a small group of African Americans gathered for worship and fellowship. Their church grew on this site as the Sycamore Hill Missionary Baptist Church becoming the heart and soul of Greenville’s Black community — a community remembered and celebrated here at the Sycamore Hill Gateway Plaza.

Twenty-two African Americans gathered in Sister Ruth Armond’s home on North Green Street in the winter of 1860 under the long shadow of slavery. They emerged in the new light of freedom in 1865 to establish the African Baptist Church on this site. By the 1880s, despite ongoing terror spread by the Pitt County Ku Klux Klan, the church grew into a new name taken from its surroundings: Sycamore Hill Missionary Baptist Church. For generations this church anchored the Black community in downtown Greenville, providing spiritual and social connections that had political and economic impact beyond its walls. The coming of urban renewal in the late 1960s dispersed the neighborhood and a still-unsolved arson destroyed the church building, which had stood on this spot since 1917. The people persisted. The church still serves the Greenville community from a new location on Hooker Road.

Fifty years later, Greenville reclaimed this historic space as the Sycamore Hill Gateway Plaza to honor this resilient church and its Black neighbors, inviting residents and tourists to come, reflect and use the past to move forward.

Sycamore Hill Gateway Plaza/Sycamore Hill Missionary Baptist Church: What's Nearby

Greenville, NC
Sycamore Hill Gateway Plaza/Sycamore Hill Missionary Baptist Church
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