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Viola Davis Desmond (July 6, 1914-1965) was born in 
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.  She was an African-
Canadian who ran her own beauty parlor and beauty 
college in Halifax.  She has been referred to as a 
Canadian version of Rosa Parks.  Desmond’s story was 
one of the most publicized incidents of racial 
discrimination in Nova Scotian and Canadian history.

On November 8, 1946, Viola Desmond refused to sit in 
the balcony designated exclusively for blacks in a New 
Glasgow theatre.  Instead she took her seat on the 
ground floor where only white people were allowed to 
sit.  After being forcibly removed from the theatre and 
arrested, Desmond was eventually found guilty of not 
paying the one-cent difference in tax on the balcony 
ticket from the main floor ticket.







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