Viola Desmond to appear on new Canadian $10 banknote

Dec 13, 2016 10:02 IST

A black civil rights leader Viola Desmond will appear on the new Canadian $10 banknote. The announcement was made by Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau in December 2016.

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She will be the first Canadian woman to figure on a banknote. She replaced the Canada's first Prime Minister John A Macdonald. Macdonald will now move to a higher bill when new banknotes will go into circulation in 2018.

Desmond is popularly known for her struggle against anti-black segregation and racism in Canada in the 1940s.

About Viola Desmond

• Businesswoman from a middle-class family, Desmond is best known for refusing to give up her seat in the 'whites only' section of a cinema in Canada's eastern province of Nova Scotia in 1946.
• Eventually, she was thrown out of the segregated cinema by police and was held in prison overnight along with imposition of penalty only for refusing to move to the upstairs balcony reserved for black people.
• She was also illegally charged with not paying a small tax that was applied on a downstairs ticket. But instead of letting the matter rest, Desmond decided to fight her conviction in court.
• Her case was the first known legal challenge by a black woman against segregation laws in Canada.
• She had the support of local black community leaders and the Nova Scotia Association for the Advancement of Coloured People.
• In 2010, she received a posthumous pardon from the province of Nova Scotia.
• She passed away in 1965.


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