The Name’s the Same in R.I.

Brian MacQuarrie, Boston Globe, November 8, 2010

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By a ratio of nearly 4 to 1, voters opted last week to retain the name enshrined in the colony’s Royal Charter, despite opponents who argued that the centuries-old wording conjures memories of Rhode Island’s major role in the American slave trade.

“It was political correctness taken to the nth extreme,” said Jeff Britt, 42, of Warwick, who voted not to amend the state constitution to call Rhode Island simply that. “It was inane on its face.”

But to supporters, a vote to lop off “Providence Plantations” would have helped erase a connotation of slavery and a reminder to minority residents that Rhode Island’s early wealth was rooted in trans-Atlantic trafficking of human beings.

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