Rhode Island Officials Considering Changing State’s Name Over Ties To Slavery

Across the country, statues of confederate leaders are coming down. There are debates on whether to change the names of certain streets, cities and schools. And come November, those making changes could include the state of Rhode Island.

The issue stands with the state’s ties to slavery in its official name: “The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.” The “Providence Plantations” part is the name of the land settled in the capital city by slave owner Roger Williams in 1636.

Governor Gina Raimondo signed an executive order that puts the possible name change on the November ballot.

One petition to change the state’s name has garnered over 7,200 signatures. The petition states, “Some Rhode Islanders pride themselves on living in the ‘smallest state with the longest name.’ But the history of how we got this name is often forgotten.”

In 2010, a vote to change Rhode Island’s name failed with 78% of the electorate voting against the idea.

Similar discussions are happening across the country. In Ohio, a petition to change the state’s capital of Columbus to a new name has garnered over 48,000 signatures. The city is named after Christopher Columbus, whose treatment of indigenous people has been criticized for years.

By: Caitlin Baldwin, Newsy.