The One Story: HBCUs And The Gatekeeping Of Black Culture
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Over a year ago the National Trust for Historic Preservation declared late legendary songstress Nina Simone’s childhood home a national treasure. Individuals in the entertainment industry have joined forces to support a campaign that would make the restoration and preservation of the North Carolina-based house a reality.

The crowdfunding campaign—which launched on July 1—is being run on IndieGoGo. Through the campaign, supporters can purchase shirts, postcards, pins and other Nina Simone-inspired items designed by Black artist Dare Coulter. They can also purchase items donated by Issa Rae, Talib Kweli, and Mahershala Ali. Singer John Legend has been instrumental in spreading awareness about the revitalization of Simone’s home. “Spaces devoted to the history and legacy of people of color, especially women of color, are far too few in America today,” he said in a statement. “Preserving places like the Nina Simone childhood home will help keep her powerful story alive. This campaign pays tribute to Nina Simone’s unapologetic pursuit of musical, personal, and political freedom and I am proud to be a part of it.”

The singer’s childhood home has been vacant for years. It was on the verge of being demolished until New York artists joined forces to purchase the home in 2017. The National Trust for Historic Preservation is developing a renovation plan through its African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund.

The organization has been working towards ensuring that historic Black sites that are embedded in the fabric of American history are preserved. Other preservation projects that are being worked on through the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund include the restoration of playwright August Wilson’s Pittsburgh home and a house in Long Island that belonged to John and Alice Coltrane. “The projects celebrate iconic figures, instill community pride, and also provide the opportunity to educate about them and their achievements for generations to come,” said Linda Wilson, Executive Director, Fund II Foundation.


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