Who is Viola Desmond? This question has been asked by the mass of Canada’s population. She is awfully unknown in our communities although she has had a big impact on people of colour in our nation. Viola Desmond was a businesswoman, a beautician, a mentor, and among many other things that Desmond embodied; she was a civil rights activist. Born in 1914, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, into a family of 10 children, and biracial parents, Desmond experienced a unique perspective of Canada growing up. She seen the limitations on black women to thrive, especially in the beauty industry, being that she was very passionate in esthetics. As seen to have taken on Rosa Parks figure in many ways, many would consider Desmond’s defining moment to be of the theatre incident in 1946. Although she has also impacted her community on a smaller scale in remarks to her small business endeavours, such as her own beauty school and her own line of beauty products. By the time Desmond was 32, she had been seeing the lack of opportunities for black women in the beauty industry for some time now. With the absence of schooling they were able to enroll for, as well as the lack of products aimed at the black communities, she decided it was about time for a change. Desmond took her esthetics schooling in New York, and soon after returning to hometown Halifax. She had created her own business of beauty products that were becoming quite the hit. While on a trip to sell her beauty products ( later founded her own beauty school), Desmond’s car broke down while driving through the town of Glasgow, Nova Scotia. Desmond was told that it would take around a day to get in the parts needed to repair her car by the local mechanics. She had a lot of time to kill before carrying on with her trip, and so she would. Desmond decided to catch a movie at the Roseland theatre to see ” The Dark Mirror”, while waiting for the repair of her vehicle. She proceeded to purchase a ticket, and si herself on the bottom floor of the theatre, not knowing there would be a difference between the floor and the balcony. Soon into the move, she would be ‘greeted’ by an employe of the theatre, who stated to her that she cannot sit on the floor seats, since she hadn’t bought a ticket for floor seats. Without fight, she got up and went to go buy a ticket for the floor seat. At the ticket booth, she was told that it was against their policy to sell her a ticket for floor seats, simply because she was black. Although she had the money for it, and it was only a 1 cent difference between balcony and floor tickets. Desmond wouldn’t stand for the nonsense, so she arched herself back into the theatre and resumed her place on the floor. She was then forcibly removed from the theatre, and arrested, injuring her hip in the process. She was kept unjustly overnight, with no access to information about her lawyer, bail, or legal rights. After being arrested, she was taken down the police station and fined 20$ dollars. She peacefully paid the fine and returned home to Halifax. After her return home after the incident, she discussed the matter with her husband and pastor and decided to fight the charge in court. With help from her church and the NSAACP, Nova Scotia association for the advancement of coloured people, she hired frederick William bissett as her lawyer to represent her in trials. They tried to file a lawsuit against the theatre, showing unsuccessful when the government insisted it was strictly about taxes and was not a race thing at all since the statute used to convict her contained no explicitly racist language. The case was dismissed and justice was not served. Desmond continued on with her life but never the same as before the matter. She went on to establish her beauty school for coloured women in spite of the limitations of coloured peoples that had recently become very real to her. ” This meant something to our people. Neither before, or since has there been such an aggressive efforts to obtain rights. The people arose as one, and with one voice . This positive stand enhanced the prestige of the negro community throughout the province. It is my conviction that much of the positive action that has since taken place stemmed from this¨ -Dr. William Pearly Oliver.z Often referred to as the Canadian Rosa Parks, and in a way she is. Both women stood, or rather sat, their protest in the face of common racism in a time when racism was abruptly present in society. While Rosa Parks was fighting against legalized Jim Crow laws, Desmond fought the policies of a privately owned theatre, since there wasn’t any actual Jim Crow laws, or laws of the such, in Canada. Although Desmond’s incident took place nearly 10 years before Parks, and the entire civil rights movement,she is rarely recognized for the spark she ignited in regards to the black persons rights in Canada .Not only did both women stand incredibly tall for civil rights within the black community, but also for women, black women in particular. In a way that showed women to be strong enough to fight for their own rights and the men don’t have to always take the lead. It painted black women to be strong, and to not take any nonsense from bigots. So in conclusion, it is a great shame that someone who has had such an impact on our nation, goes so unrecognized, and without credit. With a story as great as hers, I believe we should be taught about her in our school curriculum. Although we see traces of her everywhere including schools, and even the upcoming banknote to come out in 2018 with her face on it, the first black women to be featured on a banknote in Canada. People will see her and not know the true power she and her story holds. Desmonds legacy is her story, and everything to be learnt from it. The beauty schools she opened available to black women opened countless opportunities to many families, and she has been commemorated in our society for these things. Desmonds encounter with blunt racism took place many years before Parks did, and so maybe Parks should be referred to as ” The American Viola Desmond”.