Nova Scotia civil rights pioneer Viola Desmond honoured with Google Doodle

The Google doodle on July 6, 2018 features the story of Nova Scotia civil rights activist Viola Desmond. This date would have been her 104th birthday. Google

Nova Scotia civil rights pioneer Viola Desmond can add a Google Doodle to her long list of accolades.

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

READ MORE: ‘She would be humbled’: Viola Desmond to receive star from Canada’s Walk of Fame in Halifax

It also traces the now-famous incident when she refused to leave the whites-only section of a New Glasgow, N.S., 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.

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Viola Desmond poses for a portrait in 1940. Handout

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

Friday would have been Desmond’s 104th birthday.

To mark the occasion, New Glasgow is renaming a town street Viola’s Way. A ceremony is being held Friday afternoon at the corner of Provost and Forbes Streets — next to the site of the former theatre where Desmond was arrested 71 years ago.

In March, a new $10 bill featuring Desmond was unveiled — making her the first black person and first non-royal woman to grace the regularly circulating Canadian bank note.

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She was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame in Toronto last year and a star was mounted aboard the ferry bearing her name in Halifax harbour last week.

Her 91-year-old sister Wanda Robson, who was instrumental in sharing Desmond’s story with the public, spoke at the ceremony and said Desmond “preached by doing” and would “let nothing stand in her way.”

— With a file from The Canadian Press 

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