Being alive to witness this auspicious moment in history is enough to make it my blog posting on Friday , December 9 2016. The Federal Government announced yesterday that Viola Desmond will be the NEW FACE on the Canadian $10 bill in 2018. She becomes the FIRST Canadian Woman to be celebrated on the face of her country’s currency. I was unfamiliar with Viola Desmond’s story before this announcement, but it held my interest long enough for me to do my research.
Side Note: I can’t wait to present every one of my grandchildren with a $10 bill in 2018. If you know the struggles our ancestors had to give us a voice today, then we would have a greater appreciation to continue to be a force to be reckoned with. We are all human beings. Period. Work hard at whatever is your passion – barbering, hairdressing, flying a space ship, owning a company that promotes and helps those who are less fortunate, sports, and nursing to list a few. But, whatever you do – believe what your heart tells you. NOT WHAT OTHERS SAY!
👠 Your attitude will determine the success you would enjoy. 👞
Viola Desmond was a cosmetics pioneer for black women in Atlantic Canada. She followed in the footsteps of her father who was a Halifax barber. Viola started her own beauty school – Halifax’s Desmond School of Beauty Culture because black students were not accepted in the other beauty schools. She sold her own line of hair and skin products across Nova Scotia.
On a business trip to New Glasgow in 1946, her car broke down. She decided to go to the Roseland Theatre to pass time while her car was being repaired. But, Roseland was a segregated theatre – the floor seats were for whites only, while blacks were confined to the balcony. Viola was shortsighted and needed a better view. She tried to buy a floor seat, but was refused because she was black. She bought a balcony seat – which was one cent cheaper, but she sat in the floor area. The staff called the cops and had her dragged out. She spent 12 hours in jail.
Viola was charged and convicted of tax evasion over a penny – between the balcony and floor ticket. A judge fined her $26. Viola died in 1965 without any acknowledgement of racial discrimination in her case.
In 2010, Nova Scotia gave her a free pardon – and the black lieutenant governor signed it into the law. They called Ms Desmond’s case a miscarriage of justice and said she should never have been charged.
Viola Desmond’s only crime was the expectation of being treated NOT as black OR as a woman – but simply as a HUMAN BEING.
The short list for women on the $10 bill included a poet, an electrical engineer from the University of Toronto in 1927, a Quebec activist, and a 1928 Olympic medallist.
There were more than 26,000 submissions from the public, which was whittled down to 461 eligible nominees. Eligible nominees had to have died for at least 25 years.