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North Carolina childhood home of Nina Simone gets permanent protection

The childhood home of iconic musician and civil rights activist Nina Simone will be indefinitely preserved in North Carolina.

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 permanent protection of the singer-songwriter’s childhood home in Tryon, the trust announced in a statement Tuesday.

Advocacy organization Preservation North Carolina was granted a preservation easement for the home. The legal agreement binds all current and future owners to permanently protecting the building’s “authentic character.” The house can be renovated, but it cannot be demolished.

Simone taught herself to play piano in the wooden cottage as a young girl in the 1930s, The National Trust said. Nearly 90 years later, the three-room, 660-square foot (61-square-meter) clapboard house had fallen into disrepair when four black artists purchased the property in 2017 to ensure its legacy.

A crowdfunding campaign launched last year raised money for a rehabilitation effort that was scheduled to continue this fall.

Simone’s music, which spanned several genres including jazz and R&B, helped define the civil rights movement. She died in 2003 at the age of 70.

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