Nina Simone’s childhood home, located in Tryon, North Carolina, will be indefinitely preserved through the advocacy organization Preservation North Carolina. Recently, the 600-square foot home had entered a state of dilapidation, which prompted four African American artists––Rashid Johnson, Ellen Gallagher, Julie Mehretu, and Adam Pendleton––to purchase the property in 2017 after witnessing the home’s downfall.
“Today, Nina Simone’s legacy is as important as ever. This preservation easement is another step towards ensuring that her childhood home, and the history it embodies, persists long into the future,” said Adam Pendleton. “We’re delighted to be working with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Preservation North Carolina alongside many other partners to make this continuous stewardship a reality.”
In 2018, the National Trust named Nina Simone’s childhood home a National Treasure and joined with its owners and partners, including The Nina Simone Project and the North Carolina African American Heritage Commision, to preserve the house. The National Treasure campaign will allow the heart of Simone’s early life and legacy to persist for generations to come.
National Trust Chief Preservation Officer, Katherine Malone-France, said in a statement: “Nina Simone – legendary musician, social justice champion, and global inspiration – defied constraints placed on Black female performers in the mid-twentieth century to become the voice of civil rights. In order to honor and carry forward her extraordinary legacy, a group of visionary artists and preservationists have collaborated to demonstrate our commitment to equity and racial justice by protecting an American landmark in perpetuity and ensuring that Simone’s unique voice continues to inspire and empower people through her childhood home.”
The National Trust for Historic Preservation specifies that while the easement will not block rehabilitation of the home, the historic character will be maintained and protected from destruction.
“When the place disappears, frequently, the story does too,” said Myrick Howrad, the president of Preservation NC. “Easements are one of the most important tools we have to save places and their stories. We are beyond delighted and honored to be a part of preserving not just Nina Simone’s childhood home, but the powerful story of her roots in North Carolina.”
For campaign updates and more information, please visit www.savingplaces.org/NinaSimone.