Many Canadians know that Viola Desmond is the first Black, non-royal woman to be featured on Canadian currency. But fewer know the details of Viola Desmond’s life and legacy. In 1946, Desmond was arrested for refusing to give up her seat in a whites-only section of a movie theatre in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. Her singular act of courage was a catalyst in the struggle for racial equality that eventually ended segregation in Nova Scotia. Authors Graham Reynolds and Wanda Robson (Viola’s sister) look beyond the theatre incident and provide new insights into her life. They detail not only her act of resisting racial segregation in Canada, but also her extraordinary achievement as a pioneer African Canadian businesswoman.
Accessible, concise and timely, this book tells the important story of Viola Desmond. Graham Reynolds is the Viola Desmond Chair in Social Justice at Cape Breton University. Wanda Robson is a community educator, author, and the youngest sister of Viola Desmond.