Watch: A new Heritage Minute for Black History Month

The latest spot features Viola Desmond, a civil rights activist from Nova Scotia.

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As of Tuesday, Laura Secord, Terry Fox and Sir John A. Macdonald are joined in the Heritage Minute canon by Nova Scotia civil rights hero Viola Desmond. Some backstory: In 1946, Desmond was arrested for sitting on the lower level of a New Glasgow movie theatre, an area then reserved exclusively for white patrons. (Her conviction hinged on her refusal to pay for an extra one-cent seat fee when, in fact, she had offered to foot the difference.)

Desmond eventually appealed her conviction, but wasn’t officially pardoned until 2010 — 56 years after segregation was abolished in Nova Scotia. Of the Heritage Minute, Wanda Robson (Desmond’s sister), said, “Public awareness of actions of other blacks who ‘are not going to take it anymore’ have made and continue to make outstanding and lasting contributions for human rights.” Desmond’s is just one story, but it’s certainly one worth telling.

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