Canada places Black woman on $10 bill before America can do right by Harriet Tubman
Viola Desmond stood up for civil rights in Nova Scotia, Canada.
And on Thursday, the late activist was honored during the rollout of a new $10 bill that features her image.
Desmond’s sister, 91-year-old Wanda Robson, represented the leader’s legacy as the new currency was introduced to the public at the Halifax Central Library.
Canada’s Finance Minister Bill Moreau and Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz assisted Robson with the unveiling.
“Is this mine?” Robson asked Morneau, holding the bill featuring her late sister’s face.
“I say thank you, thank you, thank you,” Robson continued. “Our family will go down in history — in history, imagine that.”
Morneau later took to the podium for a speech, in which he reminded everyone that the bill would not be in circulation until the end of the year.
“[B]ut Wanda is keeping hers,” Morneau beamed. “It tells you about the balance of power in this country,” he joked.
According to the CBC, the bill featuring Viola Desmond also includes the images of the Canadian Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg, and some text from the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Viola Desmond is the first Black person, as well as the first non-royal woman, to be featured on a regularly circulating Canadian bill.
“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. “We belong.”
But what about Harriet Tubman?
In 2015, the Obama Administration wanted to place legendary Underground Railroad abolitionist, Harriet Tubman, on the $20 bill.
Last fall, it was unclear if the Trump Administration would be continuing such efforts.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin raised speculation about whether or not he supported Tubman’s replacement of Andrew Jackson during an interview on CNBC.
“People have been on the bills for a long period of time,” Mnuchin said. “This is something we’ll consider. Right now, we have a lot more important issues to focus on.”