Viola Desmond, Canada's Rosa Parks, to appear on $10 Canadian bill

Posted at 5:19 PM, Dec 08, 2016

GATINEAU, Quebec (AP) -- A black woman often described as Canada's Rosa Parks for her 1946 decision to sit in a whites-only section of a Nova Scotia movie theater will be the first Canadian woman to be celebrated on the face of a Canadian banknote.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau said Thursday that Viola Desmond will grace the front of the $10 bill when the next series goes into circulation in 2018.

A businesswoman turned civil libertarian, Desmond built a business as a beautician and mentored young black women in Nova Scotia.

It was in 1946 when she rejected racial discrimination by sitting in a whites-only section of a New Glasgow movie theatre. She was arrested and fined. Her actions inspired later generations of black people in Nova Scotia and the rest of Canada.

Move echoes U.S. decision 

Back in April of this year, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew decided to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill, making her the first woman on U.S. paper currency in 100 years.

The 19th century abolitionist and a leader of the Underground Railroad, would replace the portrait of Andrew Jackson, the nation's seventh president.

The move followed harsh criticism from some, and one Republican congressman from Iowa even tried to block the Treasury from redesigning U.S. currency. 

Tubman is not expected to make an appearance on the $10 bill until after 2020.


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