The Heritage Harbor Museum will be a place devoted to those whose voice in Rhode Island history has not been fully heard. Let Roger Williams, John Brown and other Yankees give up their hold on center stage, at least in this museum’s program.

Yet we now gather that a statue will be raised there of Thomas Wilson Dorr, yet another Yankee historical figure. What’s going on here?

Well, although Thomas Wilson Dorr grew up on Benefit Street of good family, he led a rebellion in 1842 to give voting rights to naturalized citizens — that is, immigrants. In 1842, Rhode Island was still ruled by the Charter of 1663, under which ownership of property worth $134 was required to vote. That would be worth about $50,000 today. Most Yankees qualified; most immigrants, at the time mainly Irish, did not.

Dorr’s People’s Party drafted a People’s Constitution in 1841, approved by a referendum by a majority of Rhode Islanders. But the incumbent governor, Samuel Ward King, refused to step down in favor of Dorr. For a month in 1842, Rhode Island had two parallel governments. Push came to shove at the Providence armory on Federal Hill and then at Acote’s Hill, in Chepachet. Almost no blood was shed. The Dorrites fled.

Dorr was tried for treason, found guilty, and clapped in the state prison, located where Providence Place mall now stands. But the movement for suffrage took hold in Rhode Island politics, and over several decades (most notably, elimination of the property qualifications in 1888), all of its major goals were achieved.

It may be truly said the Thomas Wilson Dorr advanced the cause of liberty in Rhode Island in spite of (or perhaps because of) his abject failure as a revolutionary.

So we applaud historian Patrick Conley and his wife Gail’s donation of $120,000 to Heritage Harbor to commission a statue of Dorr by Rhode Island sculptor Joseph Avarista. The couple also donated $20,000 to the Irish famine monument, to be erected in front of the museum’s entrace.

It’s about time that Thomas Wilson Dorr made the leap from the pages of history onto the pedestal of art.