Nina Simone’s Treasured Childhood Home Will Be Rehabilitated

By N. Jamiyla Chisholm Oct 02, 2019

Nina Simone was well-known for her work to elevate and preserve Black culture and stories through her music. Now, the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) says that her childhood home in Tryon, North Carolina, will be preserved through the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The preservation is a result of the efforts of NCDNCR, the N.C. African American Heritage Commission and the National Trust to raise more than $60,000 to rehabilitate the home.

“Nina Simone’s childhood home helps tell the incredible story of a young Black girl who transcended the constraints placed on her in the Jim Crow south to become a voice of the Civil Rights Movement,” Brent Leggs, executive director of the National Trust’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, said in the statement on Tuesday (October 1). “Over the past few months, we have seen an incredible groundswell of support for this national treasure, and we are appreciative of all the contributions that will help us to protect and activate this home for future generations and cement Nina Simone’s legacy into our American narrative.”

The groundswell to save the home where Simone (born Eunice Kathleen Waymon) grew up started in 2017, when four Black artists—Ellen Gallagher, Rashid Johnson, Julie Mehretu and Adam Pendleton—united to purchase the home and save it from demolition. In June 2018, the National Trust designated the home a “National Treasure.”

“Nina Simone is an icon of American music, and a true North Carolina treasure,” Susi H. Hamilton, secretary of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, said in the statement. “It has been an honor to partner with the National Trust to bring awareness not only to the plight of Nina Simone’s home in Tryon, but to the outstanding work the Trust does every day to preserve our country’s culture and heritage.”