Rhode Island Residents Officially Change State’s Name To ‘Rhode Island’

REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

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Voters in the state of Rhode Island elected to change the name of their state to “Rhode Island.” 

In the nation wide election that took place on November 3, 2020, 52.8% of Rhode Island voters approved a measure to remove the phrase “Providence Plantations” from the end of the state’s official name, MASSLIVE reported. 

The name change authorizes the official removal of the phrase from all governor and state correspondence as well as all state agency websites, according to MASSLIVE. 

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo signed an executive order over the Summer amid racial unrest issuing the state’s name change, but it needed to be legitimized via ballot referendum. 

“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. 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,” the executive order said, per CBS News. (RELATED: Journalism Prof Sees Racism In Rio Coverage Where There Isn’t Any)

“I urge the voters to approve the name change in November but will take all measures now that are within my control to eliminate the name from my official communications and those of my executive agencies,” Raimondo said, according to The Hill.

Rhode Island State Senator Harold Metts said in a statement pertaining to Governor Raimondo’s executive order in June that, “Whatever the meaning of the term ‘plantations’ in the context of Rhode Island’s history, it carries a horrific connotation when considering the tragic and racist history of our nation,” per Providence Journal

The ballot measure to change Rhode Island’s name was last sent to referendum in 2010 with 78% of voters rejecting it.