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5 Fun Facts About May 19 In Rhode Island History

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1. May 19, 1776: Rhode Island declares independence from Great Britain.
On this day, the Rhode Island General Assembly declared independence from Great Britain, becoming the first colony to do so. Rhode Island was the last of the thirteen colonies to ratify the United States Constitution and refused to send delegates to the Constitutional Convention, fearing a strong central government.

2. May 19, 1843: The Dorr Rebellion.
On May 19, 1843, the Dorr Rebellion erupted in Rhode Island over suffrage. Thomas W. Dorr led a group of farmers and working-class residents, who were disenfranchised under the state's 1663 charter, in a bid to establish a new constitution that would grant universal suffrage. The rebellion failed, however, and Dorr was sentenced to life imprisonment. He was later pardoned and the state eventually reformed its voting laws.

3. May 19, 1897: The first art museum in Rhode Island opens its doors.
The Rhode Island School of Design Museum opened to the public on May 19, 1897, displaying a collection of 300 plaster casts and a few works of art. Today, the museum's collection contains over 100,000 works of art, ranging from ancient artifacts to contemporary pieces.

4. May 19, 1930: Rhode Island becomes the last state to ratify the 19th Amendment.
Rhode Island was the last state to ratify the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. The amendment had been passed by Congress in 1919 and was ratified by the required number of states in 1920, but Rhode Island did not ratify it until May 19, 1930.

5. May 19, 2004: Same-sex marriage becomes legal in Rhode Island.
On May 19, 2004, Rhode Island became the first state in New England to recognize same-sex marriages. The decision was made by a Superior Court judge who ruled that the state's ban on same-sex marriage was discriminatory and violated the state constitution. The ruling was later overturned by the Rhode Island Supreme Court, but same-sex marriage became legal in the state again in 2013.
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