Unpacking Longview Performances


Unpacking Longview is a one-woman show about public school desegregation, family legacies, and East Texas identity.

When: November 11 @ 4 PM, November 12 @ 2 PM
Where: The Mickey Melton Performing Arts Center
*Join Vickie Echols, Keeta King, and Elizabeth for post-show discussion and reception to follow each performance.

Tickets: Free Admissions, suggested $5 donation at door

Performance Partners: ArtsView Children’s Theatre, Longview High School Theatre

A note from Elizabeth M. Melton:
Unpacking Longview is a solo performance based on my Ph.D. dissertation research that focuses on public school desegregation in Longview, Texas. I began collecting oral histories for this performance in 2015. Since then I have spoken with parents, teachers, students, and school administrators who were connected to LISD schools during desegregation. This performance uses these oral histories, local archives and paraphernalia, and my story as a hometown researcher to unpack the fragmented history of race relations in East Texas.

All of the stories and histories in Unpacking Longview are complex and tangled together. A large part of telling my story involves my family’s history and their connection to the public school system. More specifically, my story is about the loss of my father, Mickey Melton, who was a well-loved school board member and community leader who helped start a race relations committee after his tenure on the school board. Daddy died unexpectedly in 2010, and the school district named the new performing arts center at the high school after him.

In telling this story, I hope to highlight the ways our histories and legacies of race impact our present lives. Learning about our history is one of the best ways to better understand and improve our present. Thus, this performance aims to create a space where East Texans can come together to learn about and remember our local history.

Each performance will be followed by a post-show discussion where audience members can enter into a dialogue about the primary themes from the performance. I hope audiences will be left thinking about what it means to be an East Texan and how we can grow as a community that actively works against structures of racism and inequity.

Donations to support this production can be made here:
All donations are tax deductible and greatly appreciated!

This program was made possible in part with a grant from Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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