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If you've spent any significant time in Charlotte, you've undoubtedly traversed Tryon Street (either North Tryon or South Tryon), as it's the city's longest street, stretching from the Concord-Charlotte city limit to the north of Charlotte to the NC-SC border in the Steele Creek neighborhood, where it changes to York Road. The street was named after William Tryon, governor of the Province of North Carolina from 1765 to 1771.
There's also a city in North Carolina (Tryon, NC) that's named after Gov. William Tryon. And Tryon, NC happens to be the birthplace of the distinguished, incomparable, legendary singer, songwriter, pianist, and civil rights activist Nina Simone (February 21, 1933 – April 21, 2003).
Simone in 1965. Source: Wikipedia.
Five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams will co-host a dinner gala and an online auction to raise money for the preservation of Nina Simone’s childhood home in North Carolina.
In 2017, four artists came together to purchase the property in Tryon, North Carolina after prior rehabilitation efforts were unsuccessful.
According to WFAE, in September 2020, the home was granted a preservation easement, the strongest legal tool available to protect historic landmarks. This meant that the building will never be demolished and that it will always stand on it's original landscape with its architectural integrity.
Adam Pendleton, a sculptural artist, and a member of the group that purchased the property, will co-host the gala and online auction in support of the Nina Simone Childhood Home preservation project spearheaded by the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund.
The benefit gala (which will include a ticketed dinner) will be hosted at Pace Gallery’s 540 West 25th Street flagship in New York on May 20, followed by an online auction conducted by Sotheby’s. The artworks in the sale are co-curated by Pendleton and five-time Wimbledon champion and entrepreneur, Venus Williams.
Born Eunice Kathleen Waymon in Tryon, North Carolina in 1933, the musical prodigy first learned to play piano in the three-room 650-square-foot house. Waymon adopted her stage name Nina Simone in 1954, and would become the celebrated singer-songwriter, pianist, and civil rights activist we know her as today.
"Venus Williams will host a dinner gala and online auction to help preserve Nina Simone's childhood home in North Carolina," by CLTureNC on Instagram.
"Protecting Nina Simone's Childhood Home Ensures 'Her Legacy Is Forever Told and Remembered'," by Gwendolyn Glenn, WFAE, September 11, 2020.
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“History is not the past, it is the present. We carry our history with us. We are our history.” - James Baldwin