Nine years before Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of the bus – on November 8, 1946, Black Nova Scotia businesswoman Viola Desmond went to the movies. She was tired, so she picked a seat on the theatre’s main floor. It looked comfortable and easy to get to; she didn’t know the theatre was segregated. Because she refused to climb the stairs and sit in the “coloured” section she was arrested and jailed.
When you visit the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, you can sit in a movie theatre seat just like she did that day, watch her story, and find out why she was charged with tax evasion. For her courageous stand in defense of her rights, Viola will now be the first Canadian woman featured on the front of a Canadian bank note – the $10 bill.
Viola’s story is one of hundreds of powerful stories shared in the Winnipeg-based national museum. It’s what makes a movie theatre seat a symbol of defiance and the struggle for equal rights for all Canadians. We’d love to tell you more.
Visit the Canadian Museum for Human Rights this holiday season with family and friends. Find out about how things you care about connect to human rights.
Special programming is planned every day. Check humanrights.ca for details and our extended holiday hours.