Canada Beat Us To It: Viola Desmond Is The First Black Person To Be Featured On Canadian Bank Note

by Brianna Moné Williams

November 26, 2018

Photo courtesy of Len Wagg (@Len_Wagg_photo)

Activist Viola Desmond is making history again by becoming the first Canadian woman to be on a bank note in Canada. The news broke earlier this year that she would be getting her own bill, but it’s finally in circulation!

If you didn’t know, before there was Rosa Parks, in 1946, Desmond refused to leave a whites-only section of a Nova Scotia movie theater. Because of her refusal, she was arrested and fined, but her act helped inspire the country’s Civil Rights movement, which then helped to end segregation in that province.

“It’s unbelievable to think that my sister — a black woman — is on the $10 bill,” said Wanda Robson, the activist’s 91-year-old sister.

Fifty-three years after her death, Desmond becomes not only the first woman other than a royal, but the first Black person to be on a Canadian bank note. Can you believe that?

The process to get the businesswoman on a Canadian bank note was not a short and easy process. There were 461 eligible nominees prior to Desmond being chosen. She was selected from women who met the eligibility requirements: “outstanding leadership, achievement or distinction in any field,” and who have died at least 25 years ago, according to officials.

Now it’s time for the United States to come through with this Harriet Tubman $20 bill!

The Underground Railroad leader being on the $20 has been in talks for quite a while now. The bill is allegedly supposed to come out sometime in 2020. But, it has also been said that the current Trump administration could shut the whole thing down, since the idea was originally proposed by Jack Lew of the Obama administration.

Hopefully that doesn’t happen because Ms. Tubman deserves her bill.

TELL US: What other history-makers could you see on a dollar bill?

 

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