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Groundwood Books

Viola Desmond Won't Be Budged

Written by Jody Nyasha Warner • Illustrated by Richard Rudnicki

For students in grades k - 4 | Published September 01, 2010 | ISBN 9781773060354
JUVENILE NONFICTION / Biography & Autobiography / Women

Cover of Viola Desmond Won't Be Budged

Regular price $9.95 CAD

32 pages | 10 in × 8 in
Print Format

About this book

Viola Desmond Won't Be Budged

Jody Nyasha Warner • Richard Rudnicki

Finalist for the 2011 Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children's Non-Fiction

"On behalf of the Nova Scotia government, I sincerely apologize to Mrs. Viola Desmond’s family and to all African Nova Scotians for the racial discrimination she was subjected to by the justice system … We recognize today that the act for which Viola Desmond was arrested, was an act of courage, not an offence." -- Darrell Dexter, Premier of Nova Scotia, April 15, 2010

In Nova Scotia, in 1946, an usher in a movie theatre told Viola Desmond to move from her main floor seat up to the balcony. She refused to budge. Viola knew she was being asked to move because she was black. After all, she was the only black person downstairs. All the other black people were up in the balcony. In no time at all, the police arrived and took Viola to jail. The next day she was charged and fined, but she vowed to continue her struggle against such unfair rules. She refused to accept that being black meant she couldn't sit where she wanted.

Viola's determination gave strength and inspiration to her community at the time. She is an unsung hero of the North American struggle against injustice and racial discrimination whose story deserves to be widely known.

The African Canadian community in Nova Scotia is one of Canada's oldest and most established black communities. Despite their history and contributions to the province the people in this community have a long experience of racially based injustice.

Like Claudette Colvin and Rosa Parks, who many years later, in 1955, refused to give up their bus seats in Alabama, Desmond's act of refusal awakened people to the unacceptable nature of racism and began and process of bringing an end to racial segregation in Canada.

An afterword provides a glimpse of African Canadian history.

About the Creators

Jody Nyasha Warner

Jody Nyasha Warner is a writer, human rights advisor and former librarian. She was inspired to write this book because so much African Canadian history is either not well known or not documented.

Richard Rudnicki

Richard Rudnicki is an artist known for his paintings of Nova Scotia as well as for his award-winning children’s books. His picture books include Tecumseh by James Laxer, which was nominated for the Children’s Literature Roundtables of Canada’s Information Book Award, and Gracie, the Public Gardens Duck by Judith Meyrick, winner of the Lillian Shepherd Memorial Award for Excellence in Illustration.

Awards and Praise
  • Commended Resource Links' Year's Best, 2010
  • Long-listed Vancouver Children's Literature Roundtable Information Book Award, 2011
  • Short-listed SYRCA Shining Willow Award, 2011
  • Short-listed Norma Fleck for Canadian Children's Non-Fiction, 2011
  • Short-listed ReadBoston Best Read Aloud Book Award, 2011
Viola Desmond Won't Be Budged Viola Desmond Won't Be Budged Viola Desmond Won't Be Budged