What's in a name? Rhode Island voters will decide

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January 29, 2010

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Providence, Rhode Island: Rhode Island residents will have a hand in shaping their history, as the state of Rhode Island will let them decide whether or not to change the official name of the state from "State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations" to "Rhode Island." The proposed amendment will appear on the November 2, 2010 ballot.

Representative Joseph Almeida, a Democrat who sponsored the bill, said "It's high time for us to recognize that slavery happened on plantations in Rhode Island and decide that we don't want that chapter of our history to be a proud part of our name."[1]

Governor Donald Carcieri, opposes the change, but lacks the authority to veto resolutions to constitutional amendments. His spokesperson, Amy Kempe, pointed out that "The historical definition of the word 'plantation' is 'settlement or colony' and is no way in reference to the most modern definition associated with slavery."[2]

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