by Jody Nyasha Warner
pictures by Richard Rudnicki
In 1946 Nova Scotia, an usher in a movie theatre told Viola Desmond that her ticket was for a balcony seat, not a main floor seat. She had to move. Viola offered to pay for a main floor ticket, but the usher was adamant: she had to sit upstairs. Viola knew she was being targeted because she was black. She refused to move. She was arrested, held in prison, and fined. Angry at her treatment, she appealed the ruling, but lost. Still, her actions inspired people to fight against racial segregation.
Told in clear, concise prose, this book illuminates a previously unknown true story about racism in Canada. The strong, expressive paintings capture Desmond's character, respectability (she was a successful businesswoman), and determination. An afterword provides more information about black immigration to Canada.