• Read About Nina Simone's Childhood Home in Elle Décor

    September 18, 2020

    The front porch is a quintessential element of North Carolina houses.

    photo by: Nancy Pierce

    The front porch of Nina Simone's Childhood Home.

    The National Trust’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund and its work at Nina Simone’s Childhood Home in Tryon, North Carolina, were featured in the October issue of Elle Décor magazine in an article titled “It’s a New Dawn at Nina Simone’s Childhood Home.”

    The piece explains the site’s importance in Simone’s development as an artist, noting: “Her childhood in North Carolina left its mark, good and bad. She experienced her share of racial injustice growing up—and never forgot it. At the height of the civil rights movement, she composed the era’s most defiant song, “Mississippi Goddam,” in response to the assassination of NAACP leader Medgar Evers in Mississippi and the murder of four Black girls in a church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama.”

    Read the full article and learn why Brent Leggs, the Fund’s Executive Director, hopes the project will inspire “another thousand artists to become involved in preservation to own and steward, while bringing life back to these kinds of spaces and honoring Black cultural legacies.’”

    In September, the National Trust, in partnership with the World Monuments Fund and Preservation North Carolina, secured permanent protection of the home with a preservation easement. Learn more about this critical preservation step.

  • Nina Simone Childhood Home Permanently Protected!

    September 8, 2020

    The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, in partnership with World Monuments Fund and Preservation North Carolina, recently secured protection of Nina Simone’s childhood home. The home, located in Tryon, North Carolina is now protected with a preservation easement held by Preservation North Carolina, a statewide historic preservation advocacy organization. With the easement in place, the home is now protected indefinitely, with the agreement carrying forward to all future owners. While protecting the home, the easement will not impede rehabilitation of the home, but ensure its historic character is maintained and prevent demolition.

    In 2018, the National Trust for Historic Preservation designated Nina Simone’s Childhood Home as a National Treasure. Since this designation, the National Trust has worked with local partners in North Carolina to develop rehabilitation and protection strategies while envisioning a future use that honors the legacy of Nina Simone.

    More information can be found in this press release.

  • February and March Events

    February 11, 2020

    In 2018, the National Trust for Historic Preservation designated Nina Simone’s Childhood Home as a National Treasure. Since this milestone designation, the National Trust has worked with local partners in North Carolina to restore the home and to envision a future use that honors the legacy of Nina Simone.

    This spring, the local community is invited to join the National Trust and its partners to participate in these efforts. In partnership with the Roseland Center, Inc., Unity in the Community, Inc., and St. Luke C.M.E Church, we are presenting a series of engagement opportunities for the community to give input on the future use of this National Treasure.

    Nina Simone’s Childhood Home provides an important lens for examining the contours of her life and the long-overlooked story of African American struggle and achievement in the Jim Crow South. We hope that you will join us for this important opportunity for community feedback.

    These events are being presented with support from the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina.

    Schedule of Events

    Saturday, February 22, 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM
    Roseland Center
    56 Peake Street
    Tryon, NC 28782

    Celebrate Nina Simone: A Birthday Celebration - In celebration of Nina Simone’s 85th birthday, a celebration will be held at the Roseland Center to honor Nina Simone. In addition to the celebration, attendees will be able to learn more about the project and to share ideas and provide input on the future use of her childhood home with the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Refreshments will be provided. This event is presented in partnership with the Roseland Center.

    Saturday, March 21, 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
    St. Luke C.M.E Church
    462 Markham Road
    Tryon, NC 28782

    The community is invited to join the National Trust for Historic Preservation and St. Luke C.M.E for a facilitated discussion on Nina Simone’s Childhood Home. Ideas for the future use of the home and its impacts on the neighborhood, local residents, and surrounding community will be discussed. Refreshment will be provided. This event is presented in partnership with St. Luke C.M.E Church.

    Saturday, March 21, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
    New Bethel A.M.E Zion Church
    263 Forest Street
    Forest City, NC 28043

    The community is invited to join the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Unity in the Community, Inc to learn more about the restoration of Nina Simone’s Childhood Home and to share ideas on its future use. Refreshments will be provided.

    For more information, please contact Tiffany Tolbert, senior field officer for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, at 312-610-5601.

  • Video of Live Concert Performed at Nina Simone’s Childhood Home Released

    August 21, 2019

    In celebration of the National Trust’s ongoing campaign to restore and re-imagine Nina Simone’s childhood home, the National Trust and Come Hear North Carolina have just released a concert video of a live musical performance recorded at her Tryon home last month.

    The video features Vanessa Ferguson, a Greensboro artist who gained national fame and fans as a finalist on NBC’s “The Voice,” performing Nina Simone’s classics in the very home where Simone developed her love for the piano.

    The concert was produced by Come Hear North Carolina as part of their In The Water program, a live session series that sheds light on the spaces and places that inspire some of North Carolina’s most renowned musicians.

    The video’s release follows on the heels of a very successful “Nina Simone Weekend,” organized with the N.C. African American Heritage Commission and the N.C. Arts Council which included a special concert featuring Nina’s daughter, Lisa Simone, on Saturday, August 17. Proceeds from the concert will benefit the campaign to rehabilitate her childhood home.

    The public is invited to participate by contributing to a crowdfunding campaign now underway, which has drawn the support of John Legend and Issa Rae. Donations are still being accepted! Don’t miss a chance to be part of history.

    More information on the campaign and the concert series may be found here.

  • New Crowdfunding Campaign to Restore Nina Simone's Childhood Home Gains Support From John Legend and More

    July 1, 2019

    On July 1, 2019, the National Trust announced a crowdfunding campaign through its African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund to support the restoration and preservation of Nina Simone's childhood home in Tryon, North Carolina. This campaign, supported by artists, actors, and musicians including John Legend, will raise funds integral to the exterior restoration of the home where the celebrated singer, pianist and Civil Rights icon’s story began. The home, which has fallen into disrepair requiring urgent revitalization, was designated a National Treasure in June of 2018.

    "Spaces devoted to the history and legacy of people of color, especially women of color, are far too few in America today,” said Legend. “Preserving places like the Nina Simone childhood home will help keep her powerful story alive. This campaign pays tribute to Nina Simone’s unapologetic pursuit of musical, personal, and political freedom and I am proud to be a part of it."

    The National Trust’s crowdfunding campaign will run on IndieGoGo, beginning today, giving the public an opportunity to make donations to this effort, and to purchase newly designed Nina Simone-inspired merchandise including T-shirts, artist prints, pins, and postcards with artwork by Dare Coulter, a North Carolina-based artist working to create positive imagery of people of color.

    The campaign will also include the option to acquire additional merchandise donated by musicians including Talib Kweli and Yusef/Cat Stevens, and actors Mahershala Ali and Issa Rae.

    “With more than 40 albums over five decades, Nina Simone is one of the most acclaimed singers of all time,” said Neil Portnow, Recording Academy President/CEO. “The Recording Academy has honored her legacy through the GRAMMY Hall of Fame and with a Lifetime Achievement Award, both accolades very much deserved. I’m thrilled to know that her talent will continue to live on through the preservation of her childhood home where her artistic journey began.”

    On July 4-6, 2019, the National Trust is bringing the Nina Simone Crowdfunding campaign to the 25th annual Essence Festival, where attendees can claim exclusive perks and learn more about this National Treasure.

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