The Rhode Island Irish Famine Memorial, located on the Riverwalk in downtown Providence, powerfully commemorates the sufferings and triumphs of the two and one half million victims and survivors of Ireland’s “Great Famine” of 1845-1851. It also pays a moving tribute in granite, bronze and brick to the successive waves of Irish immigrants who have so greatly enriched Rhode Island’s political, religious, educational, economic and cultural life ever since the Famine.
Dr. Donald D. Deignan, who holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in History from Brown University, is a founding member and the current President of the Rhode Island Irish Famine Memorial Committee, Inc. He will discuss the evolution of the Famine Memorial project from its inception in 1995 through the Monument’s Dedication in 2007 and conclude with a careful consideration of the Project’s prospects and challenges. The Lecture will be illustrated by scenes and text from the Famine Memorial site.
DONALD D. DEIGNAN is a professional historian and writer. After earning his M.A. and Ph.D. in History from Brown University, he taught for several years at Rhode Island College and then worked for more than a decade at various agencies of state government in a variety of administrative capacities. In addition to serving as a volunteer on many nonprofit Boards over the last thirty years, he has traveled widely throughout the world and holds both American and Irish Citizenship. In 1997 along with his Rhode Island College classmate and friend, Dr. Scott Molloy, Dr. Deignan was a founding member of the Rhode Island Irish Famine Memorial Committee, Inc. Since June 2010 he has served as President of that organization. Now happily retired, Dr. Deignan lives in Providence with his wife Kathleen Leonard.