Simone’s childhood home focus of restoration project
The house where singer and social activist Nina Simone was born has been designated a U.S. national treasure.
Located in Tryon, N.C., the home is currently in shambles — the ceiling is crumbling, the walls are chipping and the floorboards sagging.
But thanks to a decision by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, that will change. Along with receiving the designation, the home will be fully restored so future artists can use it. Actor and director Phylicia Rashad will be the adviser and ambassador of the restoration campaign.
“Nina Simone’s distinctive voice and social critique in the mid20th century was unlike anything America had ever heard before. While her musical and social justice legacy burns bright, her childhood home has been neglected ,” said Stephanie Meeks, the National Trust’s president and CEO.
In 2016, four artists — conceptualist Adam Pendleton, sculptor and painter Rashid Johnson, collagist and filmmaker Ellen Gallagher and abstract painter Julie Mehretu — teamed up to buy the house and preserve Simone’s legacy.
“Nina’s politics challenged what America was at the moment she was alive — and challenged what America could be and what it would become,” Pendleton told the New York Times. “I think those are questions that don’t die.”
Simone was born in 1933 as Eunice Kathleen Waymon, and along with recording hits such as To Be Young, Gifted and Black and I Loves You, P orgy, she became a prominent voice in the civil rights movement. She died at age 70 in 2003.
Nina Simone was born in Tryon, N.C. Actor Phylicia Rashad is the adviser on a campaign to restore Simone’s childhood home.