Friday, June 26, 2009

Rhode Island considers changing name due to slavery legacy  

Most people don't seem to know this, but Rhode Island's official name is actually "State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations." Now, a bill has been introduced to drop the "Providence Plantations" bit out of respect for those who have been enslaved in the past.

A push to drop "Providence Plantations" from that name advanced farther than ever on Thursday when House lawmakers voted 70-3 to let residents decide whether their home should simply be called the "State of Rhode Island." It's an encouraging sign for those who believe the formal name conjures up images of slavery, while opponents argue it's an unnecessary rewriting of history that ignores Rhode Island's tradition of religious liberty and tolerance.

Personally, I have no problem with changing the state's name and I can't really understand why opponents do. What does everyone else think? Good idea? Bad idea?

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3 comments: to “ Rhode Island considers changing name due to slavery legacy

  • June 26, 2009 at 2:21 PM  

    There's no reason not to change it. The only reason someone wouldn't want to change it is if they like and want slavery. I'm surprised it hadn't been changed yet.

  • June 26, 2009 at 3:33 PM  

    I can see it from both sides. Changing its name does not undo the history attached and burying it might do an even greater injustice to those who endured slavery. I'm undecided on this one, although on the whole I don't usually agree with name-changing to suit when an idea becomes unfashionable (freedom fries anyone? Or the German Shepherd being renamed Alsation because anything German was deemed Nazi).
    THen again, everyone calls it Rhode Island and just that already. Cutting off an old, unused, unnecessary addition seems like a reasonable culling over an overly long place name to me, even if weren't a reminder of a rather shameful part of history.

  • June 26, 2009 at 6:46 PM  

    That's a good point actually - it does somewhat emulate an attempt to bury history - slavery seems to be something that we should talk about and acknowledge as being an important part of American history.