Earlier: More Reckonings: “Cakewalk,” “Sold Down The River,”“Grandfathering,” Etc.
The Associated Press is worried that the state of Rhode Island, which until the Racial Reckoning was officially known as “Rhode Island and Providence Plantations,” hasn’t yet blasted the word “Plantations” from every civic building in case somebody takes offense:
A year later, Rhode Island buildings still say ‘Plantations’
By JENNIFER McDERMOTT
November 20, 2021
Visitors to the Rhode Island State House, in Providence, R.I., pass by the state seal on the rotunda floor that displays Rhode Island’s full former name, Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021. Voters chose to strip the words “and Providence Plantations” from Rhode Island’s formal name a year ago by approving a statewide referendum that was revived amid the nation’s reckoning with racial injustice following the murder of George Floyd. The phrase remains on walls, doors, floors and rugs.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island dropped “Providence Plantations” from its name a year ago, but not from its buildings.
Providence Plantations is written in the script in marble near the State House dome and on bronze plaques in the entryway. The state seal with the full former name is on the rotunda floor, the elevator doors, door numbers and directional signs. It’s even on the rug in front of George Washington’s portrait in the state room.
Voters chose to strip the words “and Providence Plantations” from Rhode Island’s formal name a year ago by approving a statewide referendum, which was revived amid the nation’s reckoning with racial injustice following the murder of George Floyd. The word “Plantations” didn’t specifically refer to a place where slaves labored, but supporters of the measure insisted it elicited such imagery and was offensive.
Providence Plantations was the name of the first European settlement in Rhode Island in 1636. Providence Plantations was founded by the formerly famous great liberal Roger Williams. From Wikipedia.
Thus, Williams founded the first place in modern history where citizenship and religion were separate, providing religious liberty and separation of church and state. This was combined with the principle of majoritarian democracy. …
Williams formed firm friendships and developed deep trust among the Native American tribes, especially the Narragansetts. He was able to keep the peace between the Native Americans and the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations for nearly 40 years by his constant mediation and negotiation. He twice surrendered himself as a hostage to the Native Americans to guarantee the safe return of a great sachem from a summons to a court: Pessicus in 1645 and Metacom (“King Philip”) in 1671. …
Williams’ defense of the Native Americans, his accusations that Puritans had reproduced the “evils” of the Anglican Church, and his insistence that England pay the Native Americans for their land all put him at the center of many political debates during his life. He was considered an important historical figure of religious liberty at the time of American independence, and he was a key influence on the thinking of the Founding Fathers.
But Roger Williams was a white man, so now he’s bad.