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“The Ignorance of the Left Knows No Bounds”: Rhode Island Changed Its Name Because of Slavery?

Twitter, despite being a stinking dumpster fire of an app and website that often makes you want to tear your hair out, occasionally has things on it that make you think or realize what you might not have otherwise. Generally, it’s just entertainment, but occasional posts are eye-opening.

I saw one such post yesterday, a post about Rhode Island. In it, the author sayd:

Did you know Rhode Island changed its official name from “Rhode Island and Providence Plantations” to “State of Rhode Island” in 2020 because of the George Floyd protests?

Now, little of what you typically see on Twitter can be believed. It’s generally a mix of opinion, exaggeration, and outright lies, not facts, something as true when coming from blue-checks as oddly-named anonymous accounts. So, is “Future Moldovan Citizen” telling the truth about Rhode Island’s name change?

Surprisingly, pretty much yes, though the “George Floyd protests” bit was a simplification of the reason. As CBS, which is far from a right-wing outlet, reported at the time of the change (June of 2020):

The state of Rhode Island is moving to change its official name — “The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations” — due to its connection to slavery.  Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo signed an executive order on Monday to change what appears on government documents, and the state’s legislature is moving forward with a bill to alter the name entirely. 

“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 wrote. “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.”

Similarly, Newsweek, a relatively reputable and balanced outlet, reported:

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Due to its historical association with slavery, the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations is moving ahead with removing “plantations” from its official name. On Monday, Governor Gina Raimondo signed an executive order to disassociate the Ocean State from the large farms where slaves were forced to harvest cotton.

So yeah, it actually happened, though it mostly slipped under the radar nationally given all that was going on at that time and while George Floyd might have been the catalyst for action, the desire to dissociate from slavery was the given reason for the name change, not George Floyd.

There were, however, a few people that picked up the story and mentioned it, even if it didn’t become a widely-recognized cultural turning point as the statue issue and was overshadowed by the Covid policies and lockdowns from that time. Actor James Woods, for instance, tweeted:

The ignorance of the Left knows no bounds. Roger Williams famously founded the Providence Plantations as a refugee from religious persecution in 1636. It had NOTHING to do with the issue of slavery. Imagine if numbskulls like this governor studied history.

Another also pointed out the historical illiteracy of those pushing for the name change, saying:

Every 10 yrs someone wants to change the state’s name & eliminate Providence Plantations because they didn’t learn history. Aquidneck Island is officially Rhode Island. Providence Plantations was individually owned private farms. Pols need to stop pandering for a name change.

So, yes, Rhode Island did change its name because of slavery even though the name had nothing to do with slavery.

By: Gen Z Conservative, editor of Follow me on Parler and GettrEnjoy HUGE savings at My Pillow with promo code GENZ