Google Doodle celebrates birthday of civil rights pioneer Viola Desmond

  • Jul. 6, 2018 7:40 a.m.

Civil rights pioneer Viola Desmond is being celebrated today with a Google Doodle slideshow.

The doodle on the Google.ca homepage was created by artist Sophie Diao and features 10 panels depicting Desmond’s life, from her childhood to her career as a beautician.

It also traces the now-famous incident when she refused to leave the whites-only section of a Nova Scotia movie theatre in 1946 — nearly a decade before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus in Alabama.

Desmond was dragged out of the theatre by police, arrested, thrown in jail for 12 hours, and fined.

It would take 63 years for Nova Scotia to issue Desmond, who died in 1965, a posthumous apology and pardon.

Today would have been Desmond’s 104th birthday.

In March, a new $10 bill featuring Desmond was unveiled by Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz.

She is the first black person — and the first non-royal woman — on a regularly circulating Canadian bank note.

As well, Desmond is featured in a recent children’s book by Chelsea Clinton called “She Persisted Around the World,” which tells the stories of 13 women who shaped history across the globe.

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