Rhode Islanders vote to change the state's name on Tuesday. Some say it's racist.
via Taber Andrew Bain / Flickr

The tiniest state with the longest name may soon just be the tiniest state after November 3. Rhode Island is voting on whether to change its official name from "The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations" to "The State of Rhode Island."

Lawmakers in the state would like to shorten the name because the term "plantations" has a historical connection to slavery in the United States.

This isn't the first time the state has attempted to remove "plantations" from its name. Rhode Island attempted the change ten years ago and 78% of voters opposed the idea.


A "Yes" vote supports amending the Rhode Island Constitution to remove "Providence Plantations" from the official state name in the Preamble, Article III (Oath of Officers), and Article IX (Commissions).

"I've never had anyone ask me where I'm from and I say, 'The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations,'" Bill Lynch, the chairman of Rhode Island United, told WPRI. "We've seen in other parts of the country some really bad things happen to show that we may have made progress, but not enough on race relations, generally speaking."

The move comes in the wake of an executive order from Governor Gina Raimondo in June to remove "plantations" from government documents.

"Many of the State's residents find it painful that a word so closely associated with slavery should appear in the official name of the State," Raimondo said.

"The pain that this association causes to some of our residents should be of concern to all Rhode Islanders and we should do everything in our power to ensure that all communities can take pride in our State," she continued.

Opponents of the bill claim the term "plantation" had no connection to slavery when Roger Williams settled Providence in 1636.

In fact, Williams was an abolitionist theologian and it's believed included "Providence Plantations" to refer to a new settlement, not an estate cultivated by slaves.

via Jimmy Emerson / Flickr

However, Rhode Island does have an ugly past when it comes to slavery. In the mid-18h century, it was a vital part of the slave trade and had a higher slave population than any other Northern colony.

Even though it was the smallest state in the colonies, the vast majority of slave ships came from Rhode Island ports.

Slavery began on small farms which then grew to Plantation-like size. "Eventually, these farms grew to be plantations comparable to those in America's southern colonies," wrote Salve Regina University adjunct professor Fred Zilian, "and with these plantations, a class of Narragansett planters emerged."

Slavery was phased out in the state after the passing of the Gradual Emancipation Act of March 1, 1784.

Although it appears as though the original intent of the state's name had nothing to do with slavery, it's hard to separate the historical meaning of the world with how it's interpreted in 2020. Especially at a time when Americans are taking a deep look at its racist history.

"This isn't going to solve the race relations problem in the country, but it sends a message in Rhode Island that we care," Lynch said.

True

A lot of people here are like family to me," Michelle says about Bread for the City — a community nonprofit located in Washington DC that provides local residents with food, clothing, health care, social advocacy, and legal services. And since the pandemic began, the need to support organizations like Bread for the City is greater than ever, which is why Amazon is Delivering Smiles to local charities across the country this holiday season.

Watch the full story:

Amazon is giving back by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, and donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Bread for the City provide to those disproportionately impacted this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your charity of choice.

Acts of kindness and compassion are always inspiring. A veterinarian gave a different spin on the phrase "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em".

The poor little pup in this video walked into this shelter with a history of being abused. He was so traumatized that he wasn't eating. The vet treating him wasn't sure what to do, so he decided to book a table for two: a the dog's place. It is not clear whether he got an official invite from the canine in question, but he felt pretty safe about showing up unannounced. He walked into the cage and sat down next to the dog. With his back up against the corner of his new (and hopefully temporary) domain, the rescue stared apprehensively at his human guest. The vet presented a dog dish with food and put it in front of the dog. The frightened pup just looked at the dish and made no attempt to eat. Then he broke out another dog dish identical to the one he just gave to his four-legged patient and started eating out of that bowl. And then came the turning point.


Keep Reading Show less
True

A lot of people here are like family to me," Michelle says about Bread for the City — a community nonprofit located in Washington DC that provides local residents with food, clothing, health care, social advocacy, and legal services. And since the pandemic began, the need to support organizations like Bread for the City is greater than ever, which is why Amazon is Delivering Smiles to local charities across the country this holiday season.

Watch the full story:

Amazon is giving back by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, and donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Bread for the City provide to those disproportionately impacted this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your charity of choice.

The world has come a long way in the past few decades when it comes to acceptance of people in the LGBTQ+ community. Those of us who grew up in pre-millennial generations remember a very different time, when hiding one's sexual orientation or identity was the norm, homophobic jokes barely batted an eye, and seeing someone living an "out and proud" life was far less common than it is today.

That was the world Dan Levy grew up in. The Schitt's Creek actor and co-creator was born in 1983, and on the day of the series finale of Schitt's Creek, his mom Deborah Divine shared a tweet that perfectly encapsulates not only the changes we've seen in society since then, but the impact Levy himself has had on that world.

She wrote:

Keep Reading Show less

Do you know that guy who has never had an issue with his TV/internet provider? Neither do I. If you claim you have never had issues with your bill going up without warning, then you are either lying or you own the cable company. Jake Lawson apparently does not own a cable company, and was prepared to communicate his frustrations regarding his bill in a most creative way.

First off, Jake understands what everyone should realize. The customer service representative doesn't own the cable company either, so yelling at someone who is just trying to make a living like all of us is not the answer. Their job is hard enough as it is so give them a break. Jake gave them more than a break. He gave them a song.


Keep Reading Show less