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.