Rhode Island Weighs Changing Its Name Over Ties To Slavery

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Rhode Island Weighs Changing Its Name Over Ties To Slavery
Rhode Island's Governor signed an executive order that puts the possible name change on the November ballot.
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Across the country, statues of confederate leaders are coming down. There are debates on whether to change the names of certain streets, cities and schools. And come November, it could include the state of Rhode Island.

The issue stands with the state's ties to slavery in its official name: "The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations." The "Providence Plantations" part is the name of the land settled in the capitol city by slave owner Roger Williams in 1636. 

Gov. Gina Raimondo signed an executive order that puts the possible name change on the November ballot.

One petition to change the state's name has garnered over 7,200 signatures. It says, "Some Rhode Islanders pride themselves on living in the 'smallest state with the longest name'. But, the history of how we got this name is often forgotten."

In 2010, a vote to change Rhode Island's name failed with 78% voting against the idea.

Similar discussions are happening across the country. In Ohio, a petition to change the state's capitol of Columbus to a new name has garnered over 48,000 signatures. The city is named after Christopher Columbus whose treatment of Indigenous people has been criticized for years.