An amazing piece of history is about to be available very soon when the new ten dollar bill gracing the portrait of Viola Desmond goes into circulation. This, 72 years after she was forcibly removed from the white section of a movie theatre in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia.
Not only was Viola dragged out of the theatre when she refused to move, but she was also jailed and fined for her actions. Viola was a pioneer in civil rights as this incident took place almost a decade before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat in a bus to a white man. This bill is historic as it about inclusion and the struggles for some that still continue today to have equal rights. And not only for people of colour, but also the Indigenous Peoples in Canada, represented on the bill by a feather.
It is unique in other ways having the image of the person honoured placed vertically on the bill. Continuing the theme of inclusion, The Canadian Museum of Human Rights and Freedoms is also pictured on the bill.
Viola was also honoured with a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame at the Halifax Ferry Terminal. A ferry was also named after her.
Unfortunately, Viola is not alive to receive these honours, but those of us who believe in equality for all are very proud of her determination, tenacity and bravery in standing up for her rights, and in so doing has encouraged others to do the same.
For more information about Viola’s career, life, etc., check out my blog on Black History Month in my blog archives Jan /2017.