Civil rights pioneer Viola Desmond is first woman on Canadian currency

Civil rights pioneer Viola Desmond is first woman on Canadian currency

Civil rights pioneer Viola Desmond is first woman on Canadian currency

The bill features Viola Desmond, the black civil rights activist who fought against racial segregation in Nova Scotia.

The act of courage of viola Desmond, of which the majority of Canadians knew nothing for many decades, on Thursday, March 8, was finally rewarded at a ceremony in Halifax assigns Desmond the status of prominent figures in the struggle for civil rights. Left in new Glasgow for the night, she made a decision to watch a movie in the cinema Roseland Theatre. Canadians will be reminded of how Viola stood up for her rights.

Segregation was legally ended in Nova Scotia in 1954, in part because of the publicity generated by Desmond's case.

"As I said, the ultimate goal of our communications campaign is to drive different communities of interest to the core Viola Desmond/rights and social justice story - a serious and important theme", wrote Harrison. "It's beyond what I ever thought". Her name now graces a Halifax Transit harbour ferry, a Canada Post stamp, and there are plans for streets named in her honour in Montreal and Halifax and a park in Toronto.


Desmond's story started with a business trip 71 years ago. That was the day when she entered a theater in the town of Glasgow and chose to sit in the "White' Only" section instead of the balcony where "colored people" were relegated. Desmond, a beautician and entrepreneur from north end Halifax who sold her own line of cosmetics, was headed to Sydney, N.S., when her auto broke down. This happened nine years before Rosa Parks refused to sit in the back of a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. "She's not leading the movement because he was ahead of his time".

She was dragged out of the theatre by police, arrested, thrown in jail for 12 hours and fined.

Desmond died in 1965, and the province gave her a posthumous free pardon in 2010, recognizing the injustice she and other black Nova Scotians suffered. And when I say suffered, I don't mean that you just couldn't do anything anymore.

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