Si­mone’s child­hood home fo­cus of restora­tion project

Saskatoon StarPhoenix - - HOMES - MELISSA HANK

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.

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