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A Black Woman Is To Feature On A North American Currency Note For The First Time

Viola Desmond the first black woman to grace canadian currency note

Civil rights pioneer Viola Desmond will be the face on the Canadian $10 bill when a new series of banknotes begins circulating in 2018. Here’s a look at how that came to be:

— Last January, Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau mused publicly that it was high time a Canadian women graced the front of a banknote.

— In March, on International Women’s Day, the minister announced that the Bank of Canada would begin a search for a suitable woman to depict on the bill.

— The Bank of Canada asked for suggestions, saying candidates had to be real (no fictional characters), had to be Canadian citizens and had to have been dead for at least 25 years.

— More than 26,000 submissions came in.

— An advisory council whittled the list down to 12 and then five.

— The final five: Desmond; poet E. Pauline Johnson; Elsie MacGill, who received an electrical engineering degree from the University of Toronto in 1927; Quebec suffragette Idola Saint-Jean; and 1928 Olympic track and field medallist Fanny Rosenfeld.

— Some prominents who didn’t make the final cut: Famous Five activist Nellie McClung, “Anne of Green Gables” author Lucy Maud Montgomery; British Columbia artist Emily Carr, Quebec social reformer and politician Therese Casgrain and Manitoba author Gabrielle Roy.

Who is Viola Desmond?

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