RI to vote on dropping 'Plantations' from its name
The state's official name — The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations — is more than just a mouthful. To many, it evokes stinging reminders of Rhode Island's prime role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
Voters next Tuesday will decide whether to change the name by dropping the words "and Providence Plantations." The issue has been debated for years, but lawmakers last year authorized a ballot question for the first time following an impassioned debate over race relations, ancestry and history.
Supporters of the referendum see the ballot question as a chance to erase the state's links to slavery and remove a word they associate with human bondage and suffering. But opponents, including Gov. Don Carcieri, note that the state name actually has nothing to do with slavery and that, in any case, changing it will do nothing to alter history.
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