Time to Leave the Plantation?

Traditionally, Motif takes what are often confoundingly worded ballot questions and plainly explains them for voters before they enter the ballot box. This year, there’s one ballot question from the state, and it’s a pretty simple one: Is it time to drop “Providence Plantations” from our state name through an amendment to the state constitution?

This question was on the ballot in 2010 and nearly 78% of voters rejected the name change. But this year has seen a cultural reckoning and perhaps a greater understanding that despite the history of the word “Plantations” in the state name, its symbolism causes pain, and it’s hurtful to many Rhode Islanders to have a word so closely associated with slavery appear in the state’s official name.