November 14, 2017

Comics, Taxes, and Civil Rights

Winnipeg high school student Elly Hooker has won a national award for the comic she created which tells the story of Nova Scotian Viola Desmond's fight for civil rights. Ms. Desmond, born in Halifax, became famous in 1946 for refusing to sit in a segregated area of a New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, movie theater.  She didn't realize that the ticket she had bought was only good for a balcony seat, where all African-Canadians had to sit. Downstairs seating was only for white Canadians. She wanted to purchase a downstairs ticket but the cashier refused. When she tried to take a downstairs seat, police arrested her. The next day, she paid a fine for refusing to pay the one cent difference between the ticket prices (based on the "amusement tax" due to the provincial government).

She eventually appealed to the courts. Although she died in 1965, her sister continued the fight for her. In 2010, the then Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia granted Ms. Desmond a pardon. In 2016, the Bank of Canada chose Viola Desmond as the first Canadian woman to appear on a Canadian banknote (the ten-dollar bill).

Ms. Hooker will receive the Kayak Kids' Illustrated History Challenge in Ottawa for her comic celebrating Viola Desmond.

A short Viola Desmond bibliography below:

Heritage Minutes: Viola Desmond; Historica Canada: Heritage Minutes

How Civil Rights Icon Viola Desmond Helped Change Course of Canadian History

The Story of Viola Desmond, "Canada's Rosa Parks"

Who's the Woman on Canada's New $10 Bill? A Viola Desmond Primer

No comments: