February 24, 2012

Brave Viola Desmond

Viola Desmond Won't Be Budged!
by Jody Nyasha Warner & Richard Rudnicki

In 1946 Nova Scotia, an usher in a movie theatre told Viola Desmond that her ticket was for a balcony seat, not a main floor seat. Viola wanted to pay for a main floor ticket, but the usher was adamant: she had to sit upstairs. Viola knew she was being targeted because she was black. She refused to move. She was arrested, held in prison, and fined. Angry at her treatment, she appealed the ruling, but lost. Still, her actions inspired people to fight against racial segregation.

Told in clear, vernacular prose, this book illuminates a previously unknown story about racism in Canada. The strong, expressive paintings capture Desmond's character, respectability (she was a successful businesswoman), and determination. An afterword provides more information about African Canadian history.

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