VOICES OF DAVIDSON
The Reverend C. Rashard Alexander Has, Almost, Come Home to Davidson
I met Chris in 1993 when he was in kindergarten at Davidson Elementary School. That was the year we moved to the new school. That was the year Ms. Sarah Henry started teaching at Davidson. That was the year there were 31 students in the class and Sarah and her assistant Cathy Brandon had that class so perfectly organized that when I subbed in the room in October the children could run things themselves! There were many wonderful students in that class, but you know how there are always some special students that make you smile just thinking about them? That was Chris and through the years, that smile was going strong every time I ran into him.
Chris graduated from North Mecklenburg High School in 2006. He graduated as Commander of the 270-student Corps of Cadets and was accepted to the Citadel in South Carolina. The Citadel was not a good fit for Chris, and he left to embark on an 11-year journey to get his degree from Livingston College in 2017.
As Chris said, “I really appreciated my degree because I had to earn the tuition money myself.” During these years, I would run into Chris when he came back to visit his teachers at Davidson Elementary School or at a local event like Christmas in Davidson. It was always wonderful to catch up and see how steady and assured he was.
In 2016, Chris was ordained as a Deacon in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church at Goler Metropolitan AME Zion Church in Winston Salem. He became an Elder in March of 2018 and, just a few weeks ago, received the call to serve as the Senior Pastor at Bennettsville AME Zion Church in Norwood, North Carolina. In addition to his ministerial duties, the now Reverend C. Rashard Alexander, has worked for the past two years as Director of Youth Outreach for the Montreat Conference Center.
Montreat is where I caught up with Chris last month, sitting in the gazebo by Lake Susan with his gorgeous wife, Laci. Their baby was due in a few weeks and they were both glowing with anticipation as they shared their plans and hopes for their daughter. These are troubled times for people of color, and Chris has never shied from his responsibilities as a proud Black man, so much of our conversation was about what could be done, how things could improve. One of the most profound influences on Chris’s life was his relationship with the Reverend Brenda Tapia. He feels her loss deeply and speaks of her with an abundance of love.
“Brenda was one of a kind. Beyond the scope of description with mere words, she was a feeling. So much of who I am, my resilience, and my voice come from Brenda.” It is clear that Chris lives his life with purpose and faith.
Chris’s roots in Davidson go back generations. and he can trace his maternal ancestry to the Byers Plantation in the Mount Mourne/ Mooresville area of Iredell County. The family has been a part of Davidson for generations and though no one from his extensive family tree is living here now, the family has kept the property built by his great, great aunt and uncle. They return for family gatherings, as time and schedules permit. And when Chris and Laci welcomed their daughter, Everette, they brought her to Davidson to Dr. Stephen Mange.
Currently the Alexanders are living in Concord. But as Chris looks to the future with his wife and daughter he says he would love to return to Davidson. Calling Davidson home, again, would feel fine!