Viola Desmond was arrested in 1946 for refusing to leave a segregated section of a Nova Scotia movie theatre. She was physically injured by police in the incident but was convicted and fined by local courts. She was posthumously pardoned in 2010, On November 8, 1946 during a business trip to New Glasgow, Nova Scotia she experienced car trouble. While waiting for her car to be repaired she took in a movie at the local Roseland Theatre, which was segregated with a main floor for white patrons and a balcony for black patrons. Unaware of the segregation policy, Desmond proceeded to the main floor. She was ordered by the manager to go to the balcony. When Desmond refused, the manager called the police. She was physically ejected from the theatre by the police chief and the manager, causing injury to her hip. The next morning she was brought before the local Magistrate. Canada had no formal segregation laws, but individual provinces such as Nova Scotia enacted them. It was also common practice for the New Glasgow theatre to assign tickets based on race with an amusement tax determined by seat location. Those purchasing a downstairs ticket paid a tax of three cents while patrons in the balcony paid a tax of two cents. Ironically Desmond was charged with tax evasion for her failure to pay the proper tax for a downstairs ticket. She was, according to prosecutors, one cent short. She was 50 when this occured. Viola died in 1965. Forty-five years later on April 15, 2010, the Honourable Mayann Elizabeth Francis, the Lieutenant Governor for Nova Scotia and the first Afro-Canadian to hold the post, invoked the Royal Prerogative and posthumously pardoned Desmond, declaring her innocent of wrong doing. –
Sharing a moment in history: Viola Desmond was arrested in 1946 for refusing to leave a segregated section of a Nova Scotia movie theatre.