Viola Desmond challenged segregation in the eastern province of Nova Scotia in the 1940s. And while she did not win her case, her story became a catalyst for change. And the story will now be brought to the Canadian public in a one-minute video prepared especially for Black History Month which is in February.
Desmond was an entrepreneur who went to the movies and sat in the downstairs section reserved for whites, instead of sitting in the balcony which was for non-whites.
Nova Scotia ended segregation in 1954
She was arrested and eventually convicted for not paying a one-cent difference in the tax between the two seats. She appealed and lost, but the case brought segregation to the attention of the public and it was legally ended in Nova Scotia in 1954.
Canadian actress Kandyse McClure plays the lead the Viola Desmond Heritage Minute, produced by Historica Canada and Calgary-based Corkscrew Media & Stir Films.
Heritage Minutes is a series of sixty-second short films that illustrate important moments in Canadian History. They have been produced and viewed on TV, in cinemas and classrooms for decades, though sometimes under other names. They have become part of Canadian culture to the point that they have been studied and parodied.