New Ten Goes Vertical to Feature Civil Rights Pioneer

Officials set to unveil new $10 bill featuring Viola Desmond

The new $10 bank note featuring civil rights pioneer Viola Desmond, known for refusing to leave a whites-only area of a movie theatre in 1946 in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, was unveiled on International Women's Day.

There is also an eagle feather that is the First Nations symbol of truth, power and freedom.

The vertical bank note is the same size and functions the same as existing Canadian bank notes.

Speaking at a ceremony in Halifax, Desmond's sister Wanda Robson told the crowd she was delighted to see her sister on Canadian currency.

It includes a portrait of Desmond, who is the first black person and the first non-royal woman, on a regularly circulating Canadian bank note.

"The launch of the bill sends people of African descent the message that Canada is finally accepting us", said executive director of the Black Cultural, Russell Grosse. Yes, several countries have made it happen: Australia, Sweden, New Zealand, Mexico, Argentina, and the Philippines all have at least one banknote featuring a woman who has defined its history.

HRM also named a harbour ferry in honour of Desmond, unveiling back in June 2016. Desmond, a beautician and entrepreneur from north end Halifax who sold her own line of cosmetics, was headed to Sydney, N.S., when her vehicle broke down. Desmond, who had a white mother and Black father, sat in the "whites only" section of the theater instead of the balcony.

She remained there until police arrived. Desmond died in 1965 and her act of defiance - which helped ignite Canada's civil rights movement as well as usher in Nova Scotia's legal end to segregation in 1954 - was overlooked for decades by many in Canada.

In 2010, the government of Nova Scotia issued an apology to Desmond, for prosecuting her and acknowledged her courage in resisting racial discrimination.

"I say thank you, thank you, thank you", Robson continued.

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