Viola Desmond refused to sit in the balcony (where Negroes were supposed to sit) and sat downstairs in a New Glasgow, Halifax theatre.
She was arrested and subsequently charged with “defrauding the government”—the one-cent difference in entertainment tax between downstairs and balcony seats.
Viola Davis Desmond was a Black Nova Scotian who was granted a posthumous pardon, the 1st to be granted in Canada. The government of Nova Scotia also apologized for convicting her for tax evasion, when, in fact, she was resisting a “whites only” discrimination policy in a movie theatre in 1946.
Desmond’s story was one of the most publicized incidents of racial discrimination in Canadian history. Desmond acted nine years before the famed incident by civil-rights activist Rosa Parks, with whom Desmond is often compared.
Read about Viola’s incident, aftermath and legacy at: Daily Black History Facts