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Rachel Kehoe

The Trailblazing Life of Viola Desmond


Years before Rosa Parks famously refused to give up a bus seat in Montgomery, Alabama, Viola Desmond took a similar stand against racial segregation in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia.

On November 8, 1946, she was arrested for refusing to move from the "whites-only" section of a movie theater. Her heroic act inspired Black community leaders and made her a symbol of courage in the fight against inequality. This story of Viola's life is based on rare interviews with her sister Wanda Robson, who spent her life championing her sister's story and was successful in getting Viola a posthumous pardon that recognized she was innocent of any crime. From their childhood in Nova Scotia to Viola's career as a teacher in a segregated school and, later, her role as a pioneer in Black beauty culture, young readers are introduced to the girl and the woman who went on to become the face of the civil-rights movement in Canada.

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