#TBT: Happy Birthday, High Priestess of Soul

For Throwback Thursday, let's celebrate Nina Simone!

Simone, who was born Eunice Kathleen Waymon 85 years ago, on February 21, 1933 in North Carolina, was an accomplished and versatile musician and civil rights activist.

Displaying a gift for music early in life, she began playing the piano at 3, had dreams of being a concert pianist and attended Julliard School of Music. So her family would not discover her playing "devil's music," she changed her name to Nina Simone when she began playing piano and singing in a nightclub, essentially launching her career as a jazz vocalist. She remains incredibly influential, and her music continues to be popular today. She'll be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April. 

If you'd like to learn more about Simone's life, her rise to fame, activism and personal struggles, check out her autobiography, I Put A Spell on You.

In addition, the critically acclaimed documentary feature What Happened, Miss Simone? explores Simone's life, and features interviews with family and friends and unreleased footage.

Have a kid you'd like to introduce to Simone? Try the gorgeously illustrated Nina: Jazz Legend and Civil-rights Activist Nina Simone, ideal for younger children.

And, most importantly, there's the music of Nina Simone. Nina Simone in Concert comprises three live recordings from Carnegie Hall from 1964 and includes songs such as "Mississippi Goddamn," which became a civil rights protest anthem.

Simone is admired by many musicians including Mavis Staples, another musician active in the civil rights movement and subject of this season's One Book, One Chicago selection, I'll Take You There.

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