Viola tried to buy the more expensive ticket and wanted to sit downstairs. But the agent refused to sell her the more expensive ticket, and instead sold an upper deck ticket.
Regardless, she sat downstairs!
Soon an employee came along to say that she did not have a ticket. She then showed her's. He then went away and got the manager who demanded she leave the area. Viola refused, and he left, only to return shortly with an officer.
The two then physically dragged the black entrepreneur out of her seat and the theatre and took her to the town jail where she was forced to spend the night in a locked cell. Near-bye where several men in another.
She was taken to the courthouse the next day, without being given an opportunity to make any calls or get a lawyer. She was charged, tried and convicted and forced to pay a fine of $26.00, about $375.00 in today's dollars.
In the years to follow she would continue with her work and eventually move off to Montreal. During a visit with friends in New York in Feb of 1965 she passed away. Her remains where returned to Nova Scotia and laid to rest at Halifax's Camp Hill Cemetery, where she rests today.
Here is Viola Desmond's grave.
Over the years many groups and individuals in the New Glasgow area, in Halifax, across Nova Scotia and indeed Canada had been making more and more calls. They wanted some form of recognition given to this pioneer woman who set the higher standards for all to follow, and doing so without proper recognition.
But almost 1/2 century later... in Mar of 2010 this would start a chain of events that continues right up to this year through-out Nova Scotia. And indeed throughout Canada.
It began with Darrell Dexter, the 2010 serving Premiere of Nova Scotia. In a most impressive ceremony he would declare that all Nova Scotian's ... "find the event offensive and intolerable." Such no doubt would have been shared by Canadians across the country.
This came about only after considerable work was done by Viola's younger sister... Wanda Robson and a professor from Nova Scotia's Cape Breton University. Each had the aim of clearing Viola's name once and for all. Their efforts and others culminated with a ceremony at the Nova Scotia Legislature in April 2010.
At this most impressive ceremony Wanda was presented with a very formal document approved by Premiere Dexter and his government. And with the approval and indeed Royal signature of the Honourable Mayann Francis, the first ever African Nova Scotia woman Lt. Governor in the province's history.
A pardon is awarded to forgive some event. Acceptance of the Pardon is in itself an act of admission that a crime was committed. A FREE PARDON is different and does not acknowledge that some crime was committed.
Apparently this Free Pardon awarded to Viola Desmond and presented to her surviving sister marked the first time ever in Canada that such a document was issued posthumously.
In November of 2012 another honour was bestowed on the Desmond family.
I will now break away from this story for what I think is an important announcement. I shall return to Viola's impressive accolade's on Sunday next, that is Sunday June 6th and hope you will join me for that part of the story at that time.
In the mean time, yesterday, today and tomorrow are celebrated in the US as the Memorial Day Weekend with Monday, being the last Monday of the month, being the actual MEMORIAL DAY.
In the US Remembrance Day is set aside to honour ALL THOSE who served, but Memorial Day is to honour only those serving who gave their lives for their country.
Past blogs in this space have told you about the commander of the Grand Army of the Republic starting the Memorial Day back just a few years after the Civil War.
He chose the last Monday of May as it was felt that all across the country the flowers would be in bloom. And he wanted the members to pick a few of these and go to a grave of a service member who was killed in action, and never got to come home to family and friends ever again.
He called the day...Decoration Day..and the flowers were to decorate these graves.
Over 600,000 lost their lives in the Civil War. Some say as many as 7000 were either Canadian or from British North America.
US Gov sources today say that as many as a million Americans live in Canada. That's one for every 37 Canadians. Stats also suggest that going in the other direction, almost 800,000 Canadians live in the US.
Tomorrow at 3 p.m. across the US the population has been asked to stop whatever they are doing at 3 and give one minute's silence in remembrance of those that served their country at the cost of their very lives.
THAT'S ONE MINUTE FOLKS. NOT TOO MUCH TO ASK I'D SAY!
Drop me a line and tell me where you were on Monday and what you did for your one minute of remembrance.
Thanks and see you on June 6th I hope.