Viola Desmond, Nova Scotia civil rights pioneer, honoured in Heritage Minute

A still frame from the Heritage Minute featuring Viola Desmond. Historica Canada

Viola Desmond, a source of pride for Nova Scotians, is featured in the newest Heritage Minute from Historica Canada.

Set in 1946 Nova Scotia, Desmond tries to go to a movie at a theatre, when the attendant says she can’t sell an regular “whites only” ticket to her, and can only sell her a ticket for the balcony, which was designated for black people.

“How dare they?” asks the actress portraying Desmond.

Desmond, who owned her own business and could afford the other ticket, sat in the “whites only” section anyway, and was removed, arrested and spent the night in jail. She was also injured in the altercation.

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“They left me there all night,” Desmond says. “They said I didn’t pay the theatre tax, but it was really about colour.”

READ MORE: Family of Viola Desmond wishes holiday named after honouree was permanent

The black community stands up with her as she appeals her conviction, which inspired a civil rights movement in the province.

Desmond was pardoned 63 years later.

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