Tags: viola desmond | canadian | currency | civil rights

Viola Desmond on Canadian Currency: Civil Rights Pioneer on $10 Bill

Image: Viola Desmond on Canadian Currency: Civil Rights Pioneer on $10 Bill

(Bank of Canada)

By    |   Tuesday, 13 March 2018 11:43 AM

Viola Desmond will grace Canadian currency as the first woman in the country's history after being selected from more than 26,000 submissions to appear on the newest $10 bill.

The civil rights pioneer, who died in 1965, first made history in 1946, when she refused to leave a whites-only section of a Canadian movie theater, The Guardian noted.

The act saw Desmond arrested and later convicted of tax evasion and fined for not paying the $0.01 difference for a downstairs ticket, Quartz noted.

Now she will once again make history, this time as the first black person and the first Canadian woman to appear alone on Canadian currency.

"Her legal challenge galvanized the black community in Halifax's north end and paved the way for a broader understanding of human rights across our country," said Bill Moreau, the finance minister who made the final selection for the bills, according to The New York Times.

The new $10 bill was unveiled at a special ceremony where Desmond's sister, Wanda Robson, appeared.

"It's beyond what I ever thought. It's beautiful," she said, per The Guardian. "I say thank you, thank you, thank you. Our family will go down in history – in history, imagine that."

Addressing a crowd at the ceremony, Barrington Walker, a history professor at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, noted that black history was not well known in Canada.

"Outside of the Underground Railroad story, which has a fair amount of mythologizing around it, Canadians do not know about black Canadian history," he said, according to The New York Times. "Black history was imagined as not central to the founding of the country."

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Viola Desmond is the first Canadian woman to appear on the country's currency after the civil rights pioneer was selected from more than 26,000 submissions to appear on the $10 bill.
viola desmond, canadian, currency, civil rights
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2018-43-13
Tuesday, 13 March 2018 11:43 AM
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