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First Female Activist to Be Featured on Canadian Currency: The Significance of Our Changing Money

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Viola Desmond, considered the Rosa Parks of Canada for refusing to leave a ‘whites only’ section of a Nova Scotia film house in 1946 will be the first woman ever, aside from the Queen, to be featured on the Canadian dollar bill.

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Desmond stood against the system a whole nine years before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama to a white patron, and she did it when she was only 32 years old. Desmond was arrested and forced to pay $20 – the equivalent of $337 today — when she made a public statement about institutionalized racism. The young woman was finally ‘pardoned’ for her act by Nova Scotia’s lieutenant-governor Mayann Francis 45 years after her death.

Starting in 2018, Desmond will replace Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first prime minister, whose image is on the $10 bill. She was chosen from a pool of 461 names submitted for the revised currency, which had to meet the bill’s requirements—being of Canadian citizenship, deceased for 25 years, and having “demonstrated outstanding leadership, achievement or distinction in any field, benefitting the people of Canada, or in the service of Canada.”

Comparatively, the US has no women on any of their currency, though this is soon to change for the first time in more than a century.

Abolitionist Harriet Tubman, barrier-breaking opera singer Marian Anderson and female suffragists will appear on $5, $10, and $20 currency bills in the US soon. Martha Washington, the United State’s initial first lady, appeared on U.S. $1 silver certificates in 1886, 1891 and 1896. She was the first, and so far only, instance of the U.S. issuing paper money that featured a woman solo on a paper bill.

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Pocahontas was also featured in the 1880s, and Sacagawea was briefly in circulation. Coins with limited press also once featured Susan B. Anthony.

During a conference call with reporters, Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew earlier this year  said women “for too long have been absent from our currency.”

Printing the face of a female social activist such as Tubman on paper currency is unprecedented in U.S. history. The fact that Canada will now feature Viola Desmond is a testament to the movement of equality for both genders.

Female activists are on money elsewhere, though: Kate Sheppard in New Zealand, Caroline Chisholm in Australia and Elizabeth Fry in the United Kingdom. Women first appeared on coins around the third-century B.C.E.

For many of us who are concerned about the collapse of the U.S. dollar and the Federal Reserve, it is said that initial measures have been taken to insure a softer landing when the Federal Reserve Note will be retired out of circulation, being replaced by notes printed and backed solely by the U.S. Treasury.

Images on circulated currency are significant because Benjamin Franklin created a fiat currency.  His image will be destroyed on the $100 FRN as a symbol of We the People choosing to govern ourselves again and eliminate Globalists from our banking and government systems.

Image credit: HeritageDayFusion.net

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