New $10 Bill Honouring Viola Desmond's Courage Is Here. And It's Vertical

10 March, 2018, 01:35 | Author: Eleanor Thompson
  • Officials set to unveil new $10 bill featuring Viola Desmond

A woman who stood up for the rights of black people in Nova Scotia, and went to jail for it, will be honoured today when the new $10 bill featuring her image is unveiled.

Wanda Robson, the sister of Viola Desmond, smiles as it is announced during a ceremony in 2016 that Desmond was chosen to be featured on Canadian currency.

The Bank of Canada has hidden an aptly named "Inflation Busters" video game on its website promoting the country's new $10 bill.

"I'm numb with joy", Robson said at the time of her sister's pardon.

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The new $10 bill was unveiled by Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz. "And putting a symbol of Viola Desmond, an iconic campaigner really for human rights, for women, as far back as 1946 is so impactful not only for this generation, for future generations".

The incident that would propel her into Canada's history books took place in 1946 after her auto broke down in New Glasgow, some 100 miles north-east of Halifax, while on a business trip.

Desmond made her mark in history on November 8, 1946 when she took on segregation in the province of Nova Scotia.

According to the Bank of Canada, Desmond's court case was the first known legal challenge against racial segregation brought forward by a black woman in Canada.

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The bill, which also features an eagle feather and an excerpt from the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, was met by a standing ovation.

Desmond's story started with a business trip 71 years ago. When she was asked to sit in a Blacks-only balcony section, Desmond refused to move and she was arrested.

Apart from being an activist, Desmond was also a beautician and developed her own line of beauty products, Vi's Beauty Products. Her stand predates Rosa Parks' similar action on an Alabama bus by almost a decade.

"Viola Desmond made a special act of courage, - said Isaac, Cain, senior lecturer at Dalhousie University. She was ahead of the times". Nova Scotia issued a posthumous pardon to her in 2009, decades after her protest and 1965 death.

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"You just can't spend it between now and the end of the year", he told her.

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