Viola Desmond’s Canada: Conversations about race, segregation and memory

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News release details

– The Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) is hosting an evening of conversation about distinct aspects of racism in Canada, inspired by Graham Reynolds' award‐winning book, Viola Desmond's Canada: A History of Blacks and Racial Segregation in the Promised Land.

The author will be joined by Viola Desmond's sister, Wanda Robson, to participate in the discussion next Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. via Skype, live from Nova Scotia. Intended as an informal "coffee talk", the free event will be held in the Museum foyer between its Boutique and Bistro.

Reynolds' 2016 book explores differences between racism experienced and Canada and the United States – and the concept of "polite racism". The book is available for sale in the Museum Boutique.

The moderated conversation is preceded at 6:30 p.m. by in‐gallery discussions led by CMHR program interpreters at relevant exhibits about the Trans‐Atlantic Slave Trade, the Underground Railroad and Viola Desmond's fight against racial segregation. Desmond was arrested for sitting in the whites‐only section of a Nova Scotia movie theatre in 1946. Next year, she replaces John A. Macdonald on the Canadian $10 bill — the first woman to be portrayed on a regular Canadian bank note, other than the Queen.

What: Conversations about racism and segregation in Canada

When: Wednesday, November 15, 2017.
6:30 p.m. – in‐gallery discussions (free with $5 admission fee)
7:30 p.m. – moderated coffee talk with Robson and Reynolds (free)

Where: CMHR, 85 Israel Asper Way

Reynolds is professor emeritus and the Viola Desmond Chair in Social Justice at Cape Breton University. Wanda Robson was his student. Advance interviews can be arranged. Media are also invited onsite during the Wednesday evening event.

Media contacts

Maureen Fitzhenry