Viola Desmond Won’t Be Budged!
Viola Desmond was one brave woman! Now come on here, listen in close and I’ll tell you why …
In Nova Scotia, in 1946, an usher in a movie theater told Viola Desmond to move from her main floor seat up to the balcony. She refused to budge. Viola knew she was being asked to move because she was black. In no time at all, the police arrived and took Viola to jail. The next day she was charged and fined, but she vowed to continue her struggle against such unfair rules.
Viola’s determination gave strength and inspiration to her community at the time. She is an unsung hero of one of Canada’s oldest and most established black communities. Like Claudette Colvin and Rosa Parks, who many years later, in 1955, refused to give up their bus seats in Alabama, Desmond’s act of refusal awakened people to the unacceptable nature of racism and began the process of bringing an end to racial segregation in Canada.
Richard Rudnicki is an artist known for his paintings of Nova Scotia as well as for his award-winning children’s books. His picture books include Tecumseh by James Laxer, which was nominated for the Children’s Literature Roundtables of Canada’s Information Book Award, and Gracie, the Public Gardens Duck by Judith Meyrick, winner of the Lillian Shepherd Memorial Award for Excellence in Illustration.