Viola Irene Desmond In Canadian History

1429 Words6 Pages
Viola Irene Desmond has been recognized as an important person to Canadian history because it is to commemorate and acknowledge the brave actions of a woman who took a stand against racism and segregation. Also it is important to remember and to learn from history so that history does not repeat itself. Desmond was a beautician and mentor to young black women at her beauty school. She was falsely arrested on November 8th, 1946 at Roseland Theatre in Nova Scotia. Because of this action she rose up and fought against her charges. She changed the public opinion locally and internationally about racism and also raised awareness about it. The public history vehicles for her history are in many forms. There is a stamp, an apology made, books were…show more content…
It was also a very common discrimination. Desmond however did not accept the inequality and decided to fight for her right. When her car broke down in Nova Scotia, she decided to see a movie to pass time while it was being fixed. At the counter she was refused a ticket for the downstairs seating because the seats were usually for ‘English’ Canadians only. She was angered by the treatment she got and then she went to sit in the downstairs seating despite having a ticket for the balcony seat. She was then arrested because she refused to go up to the balcony seats at the theatre where the Blacks ‘had’ to sit. While she was in jail, she maintained “her dignity [by] sitting upright [all night and] wearing her white gloves (a sign of sophistication and class at the time)” . She was also fined 26 dollars which is 250 dollars today. And 6 dollars went to the Roseland Theatre. Feeling the injustice and inequality Desmond decided to take her case to court. She had many community supporters. “Her choice to resist the status quo, and the level of community support she received [such as the Clarion and the NSAACP,] reveals a mobilization for change among members of Nova Scotia’s Black population who were no longer willing to endure life as a second class citizens” . Her bravery is remembered and commemorated today because Desmond had the courage to stand up for her own right. And even though she lost the case she…show more content…
And because of her efforts Desmond’s story received more public attention. The course is taught by Graham Reynolds. When Reynold mentions about Desmond’s case it prompted Wanda to speak up. With the help of her professor she began to really bring her sister’s story to the public attention. She published a book about her sister’s experience which was released in 2010 called Sister to Courage. A book as a piece of public history is good. It is readily available to people and if people were to study about racial segregation this is a book that will certainly help. However this source may bring awareness to history students not necessarily the public. In 2010, the Viola Desmond Chair in Social Justice was established. It is located in Cape Breton University. The first and current chairman is Dr. Graham Reynold. He is active in raising awareness about the history of blacks and the struggle for racial equality in Canada . Reynold has given many presentations at schools and universities in the Nova Scotia. He also published a book in 2016 called Viola Desmond’s Canada: A History of Blacks and Racial Segregation in the Promised Land. “It is written for general readers and all students in Canada” . Again a book is a good source for commemoration and this book is aimed for general readers and history students. However the limitation again is that

More about Viola Irene Desmond In Canadian History

Open Document