The Extraordinary Life of Nina Simone was Tragic and Empowering

Nina’s childhood home, Tryon, North Carolina. Saving Places

39. Nina grew up very poor in North Carolina during the Great Depression

Nina (as we’ll call her throughout, to avoid confusion) came into this world in Tryon, North Carolina, in 1933. She grew up with seven siblings in the 650 square feet, three-roomed house photographed above. Her mother, Kate Waymon, was a Methodist minister. Her father, John Devan Waymon, was a handyman who owned a dry-cleaning business. Nina looked back on her childhood fondly, but the family was very poor. In 1933, North Carolina’s agricultural and manufacturing economy was especially hard-hit by the Great Depression, which meant that the Waymon family had to learn to live extremely frugally.