Viola Desmond, April/May issue of The Beaver

(text copied from Canada’s History Society

The April-May 2009 issue of The Beaver: Canada’s History Magazine  highlights the story of Viola Desmond, a black beautician in 1946 who was not only thrown out of a movie theatre, but convicted on a bogus felony charge — tax evasion to the tune of one cent.

Viola’s determination and courage, preceding America’s Rosa Parks by eight years, inspired generations of African-Canadians. 

PODCASTS: Go behind the stories

  • Viola Desmond’s insistence on sitting in a whites–only section of a Halifax theatre led to a ground-breaking fight for racial equality in Canada. Viola’s sister, Wanda Robson, describes how it all came about in this 2006 interview with CBC’s Maritime Magazine
  • In the Letters section of The Chronicle Herald April 16, 2009, David R. Spears of Lower Sackville writes:

    Desmond lost in the court, but her fight galvanized public opinion. … [B]y the time I was groinw up in the 1950s and ’60s I did not see first-hand such injustice. Then I read in The Chronicle Herald (April 11) about allegations of ongoing racial discrimination in the Halifax Regional and Emergency Service. Black employees accuse their employees of failing to respond to their concerns for a year after being provided, in 2007, with a report called The Struggle for Acceptance, which outlined several specific instances of racism dating back to 2002. … Perhaps what our society needs is more Viola Desmonds to keep our perspective in check.


    ~ by artpoped on April 23, 2009.

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