For many Canadians, the first introduction to Viola Desmond will have been was seeing her portrait on the new $10 banknote. Those who are familiar with her life Others know that she was wrongfully arrested in 1946 for refusing to give up her seat in the racially segregated Roseland Theater in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. Her singular act of courage was a catalyst in the struggle for racial equality, which ultimately resulted in the passage of human rights legislation that officially ended the practice of racial segregation in Nova Scotia. Today, Viola Desmond has become a national civil rights icon, and a symbol of courage in the face of injustice. She is considered by many as Canada’a Rosa Parks.
Viola Desmond: Her Life and Times looks beyond the theatre incident is the first authoritative biography of this remarkable woman. It providinges new research and insights into her life. and Iit details not only her act of courage in resisting the practice of racial segregation but also her extraordinary achievement as a pioneer African Canadian businesswomen. In spite of the widespread racial barriers that existed in Canada during most of the twentieth century, Viola Desmond succeeded in becoming the preeminent Black beauty culturist in Canada. In the late 1930s, she established the first Black beauty studio in Halifax and in the 1940s, she created her own line of beauty products, which she marketed throughout Atlantic Canada. During this same period, she established the Desmond School of Beauty Culture, the first of its kind in Canada.