Nina Simone grew up in Tyron, North Carolina, in a three-room house that sits on a grassy plot of land. This is where she learned to play piano and began her path to becoming one of the greatest soul singers in history.
After multiple failed preservation attempts, the house has fallen into disrepair—its paint is chipped and its structure in need of work—but thanks to a new crowdfunding effort, it could be restored to its original state.
In 2017, a group of artists including painter Adam Pendleton, sculptor and painter Rashid Johnson, collagist and filmmaker Ellen Gallagher, and abstract painter Julie Mehretu, purchased the house (designated a National Treasure in 2018) in an effort to prevent demolition. Now they’re working with the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund to raise money for its restoration and preservation.
With a new Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, which has gained support from entertainers like John Legend, Talib Kweli, Issa Rae, and Mahershala Ali, the group hopes to raise enough money to pay for revitalizing the home’s facade, which requires significant repairs and upgrades.
Simone’s home is part of a bigger effort to cultivate and preserve significant pieces of African American historical sites, which are deeply underrepresented in the National Trust, Eventually, the group leading the revitalization hopes to turn the house into a cultural landmark (and possibly even a set-up for artist residencies) that represents a pivotal moment in cultural history.
You can donate to the campaign here.