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After many years and multiple owners, Nina Simone’s childhood home is finally in the right hands

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For artistic purposes and historical preservation, four African American artists have bought the childhood home of jazz legend Nina Simone.

Simone grew up in Tryon, North Carolina, as a church performer before becoming universally recognised as the “high priestess of soul.”

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To save it from being torn down and redeveloped, four artists have bought the childhood home of legendary jazz musician and civil rights activist Nina Simone.

Adam Pendleton, Rashid Johnson, Ellen Gallagher and Julie Mehretu are all African American artists who joined together to beat all bids and purchase the home in Tryon, North Carolina, for $95,000. They have not stated what their exact plans are for the building.

According to the New York Times a former economic development director, Kevin McIntyre, bought the house in 2005 hoping to turn it into a museum and spent a fortune trying to restore it to its 1930s climate before losing it to financial loss.

Then, Verne Dawson, a painter, was the next person to jump in. Mr Dawson’s wife is a museum curator and got in touch with Pendleton, who wanted to “honour the legacy of someone as vital and complicated as Nina Simone.”

According to the Tryon Daily Bulletin, “the house consists of three rooms with preserved memorabilia in it, including sheet music, an organ, beds and a cook stove.”

Tryon town manager Zach Ollis told the Bulletin, “what the next generation experiences is going to be different and Nina is something we’re proud of and something we will showcase.”

Born Eunice Kathleen Waymon, on 21 February 1933, Simone’s life was stained by hardships with mental illness, drug abuse, domestic violence and conflict with musical contracts. After facing racism in her home town and rejection by a music university, Simone changed her name and started performing at bars and nightclubs. She recorded more than 40 albums, mostly between 1958 and 1974.

In 2003, Simone died at 70 years of age in France, but remains one of America’s greatest jazz musicians and a ruthless advocate for African American civil rights.

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March 6, 2017

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