Since 2014, Rhode Island’s large and diverse Irish-American community has been working to remember and commemorate Ireland’s 1916 `Easter Rising.’
Now, a 1916 Easter Rising exhibit is on display at the Providence Public Library. It will be displayed from March 1st until March 31st.
A century ago, on April 24, about 1,000 Revolutionary Irish Nationalists marched through the streets of Dublin, occupying and fortifying several strategic buildings in Ireland’s capital city. This began the week-long Rebellion in Dublin and in other parts of country, which was destined to free most of Ireland from eight centuries of British colonialism.
At the beginning, Ireland was proclaimed a sovereign and independent state by rising leader P.H. Pearse. The uprising was crushed by the British military and 16 of its leaders, including Pearse, were tried and executed for their roles in the rebellion.
The executions turned the rebels into martyrs and served as a catalyst for making Ireland independent of Britain. After the War of Independence, which lasted from 1919 to 1921, 26 of Ireland’s 32 counties were freed from British rule. Six counties in Northern Ireland still remain under British control.
After a September, 2014 visit by Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenney, many Rhode Island Irish organizations formed a Committee to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising. The 1916 Centenary Committee has sponsored many lectures, concerts and other gatherings to help Rhode Islanders of all ethnic and racial ancestries to more fully understand the importance of the 1916 Easter Rising.
The exhibit includes an original copy of the `Proclamation of the Irish Republic' that was read by Pearse to the people of Dublin in 1916. This copy is one of only two such documents extant in North America. The display will also include 20 additional Easter Rising items loaned by 10 individuals and institutions.
The exhibit, which is free and open to the public, is located in the PPL’s special collections unit. It is open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The hours for Tuesdays are from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. On Wednesdays, it will be open from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. It is also open other hours by appointment by calling 401-455-8000. For further information contact Don Deignan at firstname.lastname@example.org