Nina Christian knows what it means to be a strong, independent woman. Self-assured and resilient, she’s lived a full and rewarding life and spent the past 25+ years as a resident of Battery Park Apartments in downtown Asheville. Nina is active, engaged and committed to living the “best life possible” and she knows what it’s like to go through tuff times.
Born just before the Great Depression, Nina is the 7th of 16 children. Her parents were African-American farmers who grew vegetables on a large 160 acre farm in rural Ohio. She remembers how “everyone worked” in her family to raise crops and sell them at local markets to keep the family fed “during the winter months.” Asked if she was aware of the bias and discrimination African-Americans faced in the 1920’s and 30’s, she states; “No not really. We were all working hard so we would have enough food to eat.”
Nina spent her elementary school years in a one room school building in rural Ohio. She recalls the school was generally integrated with “black and white Kids” going to school together and she had a “tuff teacher” whose high expectations had a profound effect on her and her siblings. Three of her sisters went on to graduate college and 3 of her brothers served in the military during World War II. She remembers World War II as a very difficult time and recalls her family sitting around the radio listening anxiously, hoping to hear something about the fate of her brothers who were fighting for our country overseas.
During the course of her life, Nina married twice and raised 3 children. She lived in various parts of the country, including Portland, Oregon and Chicago. In the late 1980’s just as she turned 60 years old, Nina moved to the Asheville area. She fell in love with the mountains and made Asheville her home. Her last 25 years have been spent as a resident at Battery Park Apartments and she loves where she lives. She is an active member of the community and is viewed as a leader among the residents. She is well known as one of the lead volunteers who distribute food to other residents on MANNA Mondays. When asked about the on-going COVId- 19 crisis, Ms. Christian reflects on the difficult times ahead but believes that “things are going to get better.” She should know- she’s faced tuff times before.
By: Gayland Welborn, Services Coordinator at Battery Park Apartments