Alexis McKenney

2023 Crossroads Community Stories Fellow


Alexis McKenney is an AfroCarolina community organizer, writer, family archivist, and herbalist. Her organizing work has centered around direct action, abolition, and establishing local mutual aid networks. She currently serves as the project director for Tall Grass Food Box, a regional Black farmer CSA program based in Durham, North Carolina. Alexis' work and research focuses on Black culture, spirituality and resistance in the Carolinas. You can read about her explorations through AfroCarolina, a term coined by folklorist Michelle Lanier, on Medium.

Crossroads Community Stories Fellow Project

Psalms By the Riverside: An Archive of Sycamore Hill Missionary Baptist Church and the Shore Drive Community

Founded in 1860 by twenty-two free Black people under the original name African Baptist Church, Sycamore Hill Missionary Baptist Church is the oldest baptist church in Greenville, NC. The initial edifice was a gothic revival cathedral situated along the Tar River in a community known as Shore Drive. Alexis' maternal great-great grandmother, Olivia Cooper Floyd Malone, and grandmother, Ann Floyd Huggins, lived and worked in Shore Drive alongside hundreds of Black families. In 1968, gentrification and a mysterious fire destroyed the original church and completely demolished the surrounding Black homes and businesses. Psalms by the Riverside explores the political and economic events, both local and national, surrounding the fire and displacement through a digital interactive timeline and community archiving campaign based at Sycamore Hill. This project aims to seriously contend with the systemic injustice experienced by the Sycamore Hill congregation and Shore Drive community through a healing justice lens while drawing connections to present-day threats of gentrification in Greenville.