The Nova Scotia Archives has launched a new virtual exhibit presenting material associated with Viola Desmond’s historic court case.
The first Nova Scotia Heritage Day, Feb. 16, will honour Viola Irene Desmond, the African Nova Scotian businesswoman who was arrested when she resisted segregation in a New Glasgow movie theatre in 1946. She was wrongfully jailed and fined. In 2010, the province granted an official apology and free pardon to the late Ms. Desmond.
“It is fitting that Nova Scotians have the opportunity to learn Ms. Desmond’s incredible story both as a civil rights figure and a pioneering entrepreneur,” said Communities, Culture and Heritage Minister Tony Ince. “I understand that some of the court documents have only been viewed by about half a dozen researchers, so this is the first time they are available for the public to take a closer look.”
An online magnifying tool allows users to examine items in detail. The exhibit includes copies of the surviving legal documents from the Magistrate’s Court and the Supreme Court, as well as the provincial newspaper coverage.
“Viola Desmond’s story is a thought-provoking saga for all individuals to explore,” said Lois Yorke, provincial archivist. “Through the creation of this virtual exhibit, the Nova Scotia Archives is helping to ensure that her legacy lives on.”
The exhibit also features a background article written by Henry Bishop, a well-known Nova Scotian multi-disciplinary artist and the descendant of Black Loyalists and migrant workers from Barbados.
To view the online exhibit visit novascotia.ca/archives/virtual/desmond/default.asp .
For information on Heritage Day celebrations, Viola Desmond, and other upcoming honourees, visit heritageday.novascotia.ca .
For events commemorating Viola Desmond and African Heritage month, visit ansa.novascotia.ca/events-calendar .
For information about the February Holiday’s legislation and application, please visit novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights/NovaScotiaHeritageDay.asp .