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Canada A Black Woman Who Defied Segregation in Canada Will Appear on Its Currency

05:41  13 march  2018
05:41  13 march  2018 Source:   nytimes.com

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Unaware of its segregation policy restricting black customers to the balcony, she requested a ground floor seat. With Ms. Desmond on its currency , Canada will join several other countries that have moved toward portraying women other than monarchs on their currency .

The black woman who resisted segregation in Canada will now - www.rawstory.com. And this month, that woman , Viola Desmond, became the first black person to appear on Canadian currency . Racial segregation in the United States - Wikipedia - en.wikipedia.org.

a person holding a sign posing for the camera: Canada’s finance minister, Bill Morneau, right, with Wanda Robson in Gatineau, Quebec, last year, after an image of her sister Viola Desmond was chosen to be featured on a new $10 bank note.© Chris Wattie/Reuters Canada’s finance minister, Bill Morneau, right, with Wanda Robson in Gatineau, Quebec, last year, after an image of her sister Viola Desmond was chosen to be featured on a new $10 bank note.

OTTAWA — Nine years before Rosa Parks sat defiantly on a bus in Montgomery, Ala., Viola Desmond tried to sit in a whites-only section of a movie theater in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia.

Ms. Desmond, a businesswoman who had her own line of cosmetics and who died in 1965, was prosecuted for trying to defraud the provincial government of 1 cent — the difference in sales tax for a seat in the balcony, where blacks were expected to sit and the whites-only ground floor ticket price. While she offered to pay the tax, she was convicted and fined 26 Canadian dollars, including court costs, at a trial at which the theater owner acted as the prosecutor and she was without a lawyer.

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Unaware of its segregation policy restricting black customers to the balcony, she requested a ground floor seat. With Ms. Desmond on its currency , Canada will join several other countries that have moved toward portraying women other than monarchs on their currency .

Unaware of its segregation policy restricting black customers to the balcony, she requested a ground floor seat. With Ms. Desmond on its currency , Canada will join several other countries that have moved toward portraying women other than monarchs on their currency .

Now she is about to become the first black person — and the first woman other than Queen Elizabeth II — to appear on Canadian currency. The new series of $10 bills is to be released this year.

“Outside of the Underground Railroad story, which has a fair amount of mythologizing around it, Canadians do not know about black Canadian history,” said Barrington Walker, a history professor at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. “Black history was imagined as not central to the founding of the country.”

Underscoring Mr. Walker’s point, Ms. Desmond’s story was little known in Canada until her sister, Wanda Robson, began drawing attention to it after taking a course in 2003 on race relations. Ms. Robson, who unveiled the design of the bank note last Thursday in Halifax, Nova Scotia, was 73 at the time of her studies at University College of Cape Breton in Nova Scotia, sisters’ home province.

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Unaware of its segregation policy restricting black customers to the balcony, she requested a ground floor seat. With Ms. Desmond on its currency , Canada will join several other countries that have moved toward portraying women other than monarchs on their currency .

Now Desmond’s face will be the first black person and only second woman to appear on Canadian currency . Desmond explained that she was unaware of the segregation policy at the time that required black customers sit in the balcony.

Ms. Desmond was an entrepreneur whose Halifax-based business had its own line of cosmetics. They were sold by the graduates of the Desmond School of Beauty Culture in Halifax.

A business trip to Sydney, Nova Scotia led to the moment that would eventually become Ms. Desmond’s legacy. After her car broke down in New Glasgow, she made her way to the Roseland Theater.

Unaware of its segregation policy restricting black customers to the balcony, she requested a ground floor seat. The cashier, without informing Ms. Desmond, sold her a ticket for the balcony. Once inside, she was challenged by an usher but refused to move upstairs. The theater manager called the police and Ms. Desmond, then 32 years old, was arrested and held overnight in jail.

After her conviction, Ms. Desmond tried to sue the theater and to have her criminal conviction overturned. Both efforts failed. But Nova Scotia introduced laws banning segregation in 1954 and the province formally apologized to Ms. Desmond and issued a posthumous pardon in 2010. Ms. Desmond died in New York at age 50 and was buried in Halifax.

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The New York Times. Viola Desmond, a businesswoman, resisted a movie theater’s policy of restricting black patrons to balcony seats. # currency . # canada .

Viola Desmond is about to become the first black person — and the first woman other than Queen Elizabeth — to appear on Canadian currency .

“Her legal challenge galvanized the black community in Halifax’s north end and paved the way for a broader understanding of human rights across our country,” Bill Moreau, the finance minister who made the final selection for the bills, said at the unveiling of the design last week.

With Ms. Desmond on its currency, Canada will join several other countries that have moved toward portraying women other than monarchs on their currency.

Last summer, Mark Carney, the Canadian who is the governor of the Bank of England, announced that the novelist Jane Austen would appear on Britain’s 10-pound notes. The United States has plans to put the black abolitionist Harriet Tubman on $20 bills, but the Trump administration may not go forward with them.

Two years ago, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who describes himself as a feminist and whose government requires departments to examine their programs to ensure gender equality, said the country would introduce a woman who wasn’t the monarch on the front of its bank notes. In a first, the Bank of Canada, asked the public for nominations.

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Viola Desmond took a stand against segregation in Canada almost a decade before Rosa Park's famous action. And this month, that woman , Viola Desmond, became the first black person to appear on Canadian currency .

Many people, even in Canada , don’t realize that the country has its own history of slavery and racial segregation . Around 1940, she started the Desmond School of Beauty Culture, where she mentored dozens of young, mostly Black women who wanted to become beauticians.

More than 26,000 suggestions poured in. The list was culled to 461 women, and a panel of experts from a variety of fields produced a shorter list for the government.

“It was amazing,” said Jonathan Rose, a professor of political studies at Queen’s University who is a member of the panel that made the recommendations. “It’s a reimagining of our currency and the role it plays in defining the country.”

Although Ms. Desmond becomes the first woman other than the queen to be featured alone on the front of a Canadian bank note, she is not the first woman on Canadian money. Last year, for Canada’s 150th anniversary, the Bank of Canada issued a small number of special bank notes on which Agnes Macphail, the first woman elected to Parliament, shares the front with three male politicians.

Images of unidentified women, usually allegorical or generic, have appeared on the reverse sides of Canadian bank notes on and off since 1935.

Before Canada changed its immigration laws in the 1960s, nonwhite people struggled to immigrate to the country. Halifax was one of the few places in Canada with a substantial black community. Professor Walker said that until the past decade or so, Canadian were generally unaware of Nova Scotia’s segregation system.

Ms. Desmond, he said, has changed that.

“It’s one of the exciting things about the Viola Desmond story,” he said.

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