Updated March 22 at 8:22pm

Should the state remove the phrase ‘Providence Plantations’ from its official name?


The General Assembly recently passed bills (although the House and Senate versions must be reconciled) to put create a ballot measure that asks the voters to decide if state’s name should be contracted.

At issue is whether the name “State of Rhode Island and the Providence Plantations” evokes slavery with the inclusion of “Plantations.”

Supporters of the name point out that at the time of the state’s founding, the word plantation had no connection to slavery, but was simply the term used for farming.

Supporters of changing the name point out that the word plantation is too freighted with the baggage of the nation’s subsequent history, and will become a drag on tourism and business should the name remain as it is.

Where do you stand on the issue.


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I agree with those who contend that the word 'plantation' as it was applied to our area described a farm or farmlands . Dropping "Providence Plantations" from our name seems to be an attempt to deny the true history and reasoning behind it.

We're the smallest state with the longest name. Let's keep it that way.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009 | Report this

One would think that at this time our State Government has much more important issues at hand that they need to be focusing on.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009 | Report this

Of all of the states, Rhode Island has one of the richest and most interesting histories. To whittle some of it away is to cave in to ignorant bullies don't understand the full, nonslave-related meaning of the word plantation. It is way past time to tell the politically correct loons to get lost. If that makes me insensitive, tough.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009 | Report this

Plantation should be removed as it is insulting to our true slavery history. Any group of people, no matter what color, who have built this state should have a continued voice in the make up of this great state. This history is not being denied but changed, as history is always being changed, and improved !!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009 | Report this

After reading Keith Stokes' recent column in ProJo, I have changed my opinion from "get rid of it because it's insulting" to a more educated (thank you Keith!) "it should stand" because the term "plantations" in that era did not apply (solely) to lands that used slave labor.

However, I do think that the discussion has merit in and of itself.

I must also agree with Jay (above) that the RI State Legislature has FAR more important items to be concerning itself with at the moment - e.g., making sure that the great majority of state residents do not become WAGE SLAVES who toil away their lives to pay overly generous pensions for those who are no longer producing -- and who may well be collecting pensions for longer than they worked.

Q: How is such a system sustainable?

A: It is not!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009 | Report this
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