Home > Disability Rights, Signal Boosts > Unlocked: The Lois Curtis Story

Unlocked: The Lois Curtis Story

A good essay about an important event in the history of Disability Rights

Dixie's Land: Robin Rayne Nelson's Photojournal

A determined Georgia woman and her lawyer changed the landscape for thousands of institutionalized persons with developmental disabilities who yearn to live in their communities.

©Robin Nelson All rights reserved

Decatur, GA — Lois Curtis blew the chalk dust from her finished portrait and handed it to her young visitor. “That’s you!” beamed the 43 year-old self-taught artist. “I like to do pictures,” she exclaimed. Lois began sketching another face, of no one in particular, while humming a favorite tune to herself.

She might sketch a dozen pictures in an afternoon, or be content to write letters to friends, acquaintances, anyone for whom she might have an address. “Give me your address so I can write to you,” she said to her visitor as she reached for her ever-present cigarettes. “I like to write letters, too.”

Lois fills her days at the Peer Center in Decatur, a peer-run alternative…

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