Simone called the house her home for over a decade and as a tribute to her enduring legacy, Nuber Avenue, the street where she resided, now bears her name.
From 1961 to 1973, Nina Simone resided in the house on Nuber Avenue alongside her daughter, Lisa. The house, a symbol of her presence and artistic prowess, has been meticulously restored by Xi Phi Chapter’s Ian Sharps and his wife Paige (a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha), real estate investors who contributed their passion and expertise to preserving Simone's living quarters.
Longtime residents of Mount Vernon fondly recall the captivating experience of hearing Nina Simone rehearsing from within her home. Her music, known for defying easy categorization, showcased her prodigious talent as a classically trained pianist. She fearlessly explored a vast musical repertoire, from Bach to the Bee Gees, earning her induction into the esteemed Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018.
Simone's music reverberated with the echoes of grave injustice and great promise during the Civil Rights era. Her powerful rendition of "To Be Young, Gifted, and Black," penned by Weldon Irvine, resonated deeply with generations of Black youth. Nola Dahling, a resident of Mount Vernon, expressed the beauty of hearing these empowering lyrics: "To hear it on that song, and hear that somebody outside is singing that, 'I'm young, gifted, and Black,' it was beautiful." Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard emphasized how Simone's music addressed pain, passion, and pride and embodied hope, joy, and love, celebrating the essence of Black identity.
In 2018, tragedy struck when a massive tree fell onto the house where Nina Simone once lived. Facing the prospect of its destruction, property owners Brother Sharps and his wife took a firm stand to preserve Simone's precious legacy. Despite recommendations from engineers to demolish the structure, their unwavering dedication prevailed. The Sharps declared, "We wanted to preserve the legacy." Today, Simone's cherished legacy, treasured by admirers worldwide, is immortalized at the heart of Mount Vernon on this historic corner.
Mount Vernon residents and visitors alike now visit Nina Simone Avenue, to pay homage to this extraordinary artist and civil rights pioneer. Through commemorating Nina Simone's enduring impact, the Mount Vernon community renews its commitment to preserving the legacies of those who shape our shared history.