The childhood home of Nina Simone in Tryon, North Carolina, has been deemed a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Fewer than 100 homes in the U.S. have earned this designation. This is the house in which Simone, born Eunice Waymon in 1933, developed a love for her piano. It's also where she experienced encounters with racial discrimination that would shape her worldview and social activism later in life.
The house had been bought by four African-American artists - Adam Pendleton, Rashid Johnson, Ellen Gallagher and Julie Mehretu - in order to preserve Simone’s legacy. Before then, it had been the subject of failed restoration attempts for many years. The New York Times reported that the joint purchase caught the interest of the National Trust, which had recently started a $25 million campaign "to preserve historical sites related to African-American history."
Now, the National Trust, along with the homeowners, the local community of Tyron, the North Carolina African-American Heritage Commission and the World Monuments Fund will work together to develop a rehabilitation plan that aligns with the home’s potential future use. That plan includes identifying future ownership and stewardship models for the site and creating additional protections to ensure that this symbol of Simone’s early life and legacy will endure for generations to come.