In 1946, Viola Desmond challenged racial discrimination when she refused to leave the segregated Whites-only section of the Roseland Theatre in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. Born in Nova Scotia, Viola Desmond was a Canadian civil, women's rights activist and businesswoman. In 2018, Desmond became the first Canadian woman to appear alone on a Canadian bank note, the $10 bill.
1. In the year Viola Desmond refused to leave the segregated Whites-only section of the Roseland Theatre how do think Black people living in Canada felt? How would you feel living in a segregated society and how would you cope?
2. If you were Viola Desmond, what would you do in the same situation? Keep in mind this is occuring in a time of segregation. If a police officer asked you to move in a public place now, how would you respond?
3. If you were the police officer who approached Desmond, what is another way you might handle the situation?
1. How do you feel when you have heard racist or sexist comments towards you or in your presence? Describe how you think the recipient of these comments felt?
2. What do you think is the legacy of Viola Desmond and her impact on Canadian society? Discuss your answer.
3. Do you personally relate to Viola Desmond's story? Why or why not and how?
4. What lessons have you learned from Viola's story that if all Canadians learned the same things, would help society
5. Pick something you think people should know about Viola Desmond and use the resources below to create a podcast or tik-tok video about Viola Desmond.
6. African-Canadians did not enjoy equality how other Canadian during the time of Desmond's arrest. Use the resources attached in combination with your own research to create a story/essay/visual/ video about the oppression of Black people when Viola Desmond was arrested.
7. Viola Desmond was the victim of systemic racism. Research how African-Canadians were oppressed in other areas of society at the time.
8. Explain how systemic racism operated against Black women specifically at the time of Desmond’s arrest and in Canada presently?
9. What is "racial discrimination"? What are past and present day examples of it in society? How can it be fought against or its effect minimized?
What were the key factors that led Viola Desmond to challenge racial segregation in Nova Scotia's movie theaters, and how did her actions help pave the way for the broader civil rights movement in Canada?
To what extent did Viola Desmond's decision to refuse to move from the "whites-only" section of a movie theater reflect a personal act of defiance, and to what extent was it influenced by broader social and political forces at work in Canadian society at the time?
In what ways did the treatment of Viola Desmond by law enforcement officials and the legal system reflect broader patterns of racial discrimination and injustice in Canada during the mid-20th century?
How has Viola Desmond's legacy influenced the ongoing struggle for racial justice and equity in Canada, and what lessons can be drawn from her life and activism for contemporary social movements?
To what extent do debates about Viola Desmond's role in Canadian history reflect larger questions about how to commemorate and remember the contributions of marginalized communities and individuals to national narratives.
POSSIBLE PROJECTS USING ART
Viola Desmond Artwork (Visual Arts): Encourage students to create their own artwork inspired by Viola Desmond's life. They can draw, paint, or use digital tools to produce a piece of art that reflects her story and its significance. This project allows students to express themselves artistically while learning about history.
Viola Desmond Dance Routine (Performing Arts - Dance): Have students work in groups to choreograph a dance routine that portrays key moments from Viola Desmond's life. This project can be part of a school assembly or a virtual performance, allowing students to explore storytelling through movement.
Viola Desmond Poetry (Literary Arts): Assign students to write poems about Viola Desmond and her impact. Encourage them to use their creativity to convey the emotions and messages related to her story. Students can then share their poems with classmates or in a school poetry slam event.
Viola Desmond Short Film (Cinematic Arts): Task students with creating a short film or video about Viola Desmond's life and legacy. They can use smartphones or basic video editing tools to produce their projects. This allows them to combine storytelling with visual media.
Viola Desmond Poster Design (Visual Arts - Graphic Design): Challenge students to design educational posters that highlight Viola Desmond's contributions. They can include key facts, quotes, and images to convey her story effectively. These posters can be displayed in the school or shared digitally.
|POSSIBLE PROJECTS USING TECHNOLOGY:
Virtual Reality (VR) Documentary (Virtual Reality and Filmmaking): Have students create a VR documentary about Viola Desmond's life and her impact on Canadian civil rights. They can use 360-degree cameras and VR software like Unity or Adobe Premiere Pro to produce an immersive documentary experience. This project combines storytelling, filmmaking, and VR technology.
Digital Archive Project (Archival Research and Data Management): Task students with building a digital archive dedicated to Viola Desmond. They can curate and digitize historical documents, photographs, and news clippings related to her life and activism. This project involves archival research, digitization, and database management skills.
Social Media Awareness Campaign (Digital Marketing and Advocacy): Have students develop a social media awareness campaign that educates their peers about Viola Desmond's legacy. They can create engaging content for platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok to share her story and promote discussions about civil rights. This project combines digital marketing and advocacy skills.
Educational Mobile App (App Development and Design): Challenge students to create an educational mobile app about Viola Desmond's life and contributions. They can design the user interface and develop the app using app-building platforms like MIT App Inventor or Appy Pie. This project introduces app development, user experience design, and historical research.
- Viola Desmond | New Face on Canada's $10 Bill
- Long Road to Justice - The Viola Desmond Story (Full Documentary)
- The story of Viola Desmond
- Viola Desmond National Historic Person (1914-1965)
- 5 Interesting Facts About Viola Desmond
- Civil rights pioneer Viola Desmond commemorated at site of her 1946 arrest