Civil Rights Movement History

louis3History station included in 2016 Toe River Arts Council Holiday Studio Tour.

For the first time in its 23 years, the Toe River Arts Council (TRAC) Holiday Studio Tour, which takes place the first weekend in December, is including a writer among its Mitchell and Yancey County artists and artisans.

Dr. Deborah Louis, author of the only comprehensive history of the U.S. civil rights movement from 1959-1965 that has been published to date, will have copies of the 25th Anniversary Edition of And We Are Not Saved: A History of the Movement as People available exclusively through the Tour, with a special discount for members of the new NAACP chapter now active in the Burnsville area.

As weather is always unpredictable in the mountains in early December and she is uncertain as to whether her road will be passable, Dr. Louis will be exhibiting at the Yancey County Cultural Heritage Center in downtown Burnsville, across the road from the Parkway Playhouse and new County Library, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., December 2-4.

Dr. Louis will schedule readings, talks, and roundtables on each of the Tour days, and will have a black history/civil rights movement library on display, as well as art and memorabilia for visitors to browse.

Deborah Louis during a city-wide school boycott she helped organize.

Deborah Louis during a city-wide school boycott she helped organize.

“I decided to do this because I think it’s important for the new wave of racial justice activists that is sweeping the country to be aware of that history, to learn from it, and not make some of the strategic mistakes we did that enabled the conservative backlash to essentially reverse what progress we had made at the time,” she remarks. She notes being gratified to see the attention being paid to the Black Panthers on their 50th anniversary, at least on social media, and honors finally being awarded to genuine heroes like Bayard Rustin, Fannie Lou Hamer, and Julian Bond.

“I’m looking forward to a weekend of reading, signing, reminiscing, and reflecting—and to meeting other people who share both my interest in and my sense of urgency about the rapidly deteriorating state of race relations in the U.S. today.”

Dr. Deborah Louis

Dr. Deborah Louis

Dr. Louis teaches online for Eastern Kentucky University’s College of Justice and Safety, with major emphasis on police/community relations, the militarization of domestic law enforcement, and the mass incarceration of nonwhites in the U.S.— including the increasing numbers of low income single moms and immigrant women and children. Some of her courses are cross-listed with EKU’s African American Studies Program, and some with Women and Gender Studies.

As an interdisciplinary scholar and veteran justice activist herself, Dr. Louis has been able to weave all these related aspects of “the American experience” into a unified, comprehensible fabric of insight and information. Let’s join her for a cup of hot cider and good talk on the Tour!

For more information and a tour directory, visit To reach Dr. Louis directly, email


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