thejazz97 Posted December 8, 2016 Share Posted December 8, 2016 http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/women-on-banknotes-viola-desmond/article33264617/ Who’s the woman on Canada’s new $10 bill? A Viola Desmond primer In 1946, Viola Desmond’s stand at a segregated Nova Scotia movie theatre made her into a civil-rights icon for black Canadians. On Thursday, the federal government announced that she’ll be the new face on the Canadian $10 bill in 2018. Here’s what you need to know about her Self-made makeup maven Viola Desmond was a cosmetics pioneer for black women in Atlantic Canada. Following in the footsteps of her father, a Halifax barber, Ms. Desmond started out in business at a time when few beauty schools would accept black students. After training in Montreal, Atlantic City and New York, she founded her own institution, Halifax’s Desmond School of Beauty Culture, selling her own line of hair and skin products across Nova Scotia. But on one business trip on Nov. 8, 1946, when her car broke down in New Glasgow, Ms. Desmond would become famous for another reason. A night at the movies The fateful movie she went to see was The Dark Mirror, a psychological thriller starring Olivia de Havilland. She was at the Roseland Theatre to kill time while a garage repaired her car, which wouldn’t be ready until the next day. But the Roseland was a segregated theatre; the floor seats were for whites only, while black patrons were confined to the balcony. Ms. Desmond, who was shortsighted and needed a better view, bought a balcony seat (which was one cent cheaper) but sat in the floor area – until theatre staff called the police and had her dragged out. She spent 12 hours in jail. A nightclub that was once home to the Roseland Theatre is shown in downtown New Glasgow, N.S., on April 29, 2010. PAUL DARROW FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL On trial for a single penny She was charged and convicted of tax evasion – over a single penny. She did not have a lawyer at trial – she was never informed she was entitled to one. Arguing that Ms. Desmond had evaded the one-cent difference between the balcony and floor ticket prices, a judge fined her $26. Protests from Nova Scotia’s black community and an appeal to the Supreme Court proved fruitless, and Ms. Desmond died in 1965 without any acknowledgment of racial discrimination in her case. ‘She is now free’ In 2010, Nova Scotia gave her a free pardon – and the black lieutenant-governor signed it into law. “Here I am, 64 years later – a black woman giving freedom to another black woman,” Mayann Francis recalled in a 2014 profile about the pardon, which called Ms. Desmond’s case a miscarriage of justice and said she should never have been charged. “I believe she has to know that she is now free.” Nova Scotia lieutenant-governor Mayann Francis signs the official pardon for Viola Desmond as her sister Wanda Robson, left, premier Darrell Dexter and Percy Paris, minister of African Nova Scotian Affairs, look on at a ceremony at the legislature in Halifax on April 15, 2010. ANDREW VAUGHAN/THE CANADIAN PRESS Her minute of fame Ms. Desmond was the first historical woman of colour to get her own Heritage Minute, which was played at the Thursday event where the banknote was announced. Actress Kandyse McClure portrayed her in the Heritage Minute, which had been released this past February for Black History Month. “I am honoured to give voice to a woman whose only crime was the expectation of being treated not as black or as a woman, but as a human being,” Ms. McClure wrote in an article for the Huffington Post at the time. Historica Canada has since produced another Heritage Minute focusing on a woman of colour, Inuit artist Kenojuak Ashevak. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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