The symbol that includes an anchor, the word “hope” and the phrase “the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations,” will be removed from government buildings and the state letterhead.
Democrat Raimondo has been the governor since 2015.
“We can’t ignore the image conjured by the word ‘plantations,'” Raimondo told reporters Monday in announcing the order. “We can’t ignore how painful that is for Black Rhode Islanders to see that and have to see that as part of their state’s name.”
One of America’s original 13 colonies, Rhode Island traces its roots to Providence Plantations, a settlement established by Roger Williams.
The dictionary defines plantation as an estate on which crops such as coffee, sugar, and tobacco are cultivated by resident labor. An area in which trees have been planted, especially for commercial purposes.
Today field workers are hired and paid laborers. But there was a time in our history where slaves were used as forced labor on plantations. And just like there is a calling to remove Confederate Statues, Raimondo felt that the word plantations in the Rhode Island seal could be offensive and insensitive.
NBC News reported:
GOP chairwoman Sue Cienki said the governor has to go to voters to change the state’s formal name and seal.
“I certainly understand her sentiment for wanting to change it, but I don’t agree with the way she went about it by doing it by executive order,” Cienki told NBC affiliate WJAR in Providence.
In 2010, the state’s voters soundly rejected Question 1, which asked if the official name, “State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations,” should be changed to simply “Rhode Island.”
A representative for Raimondo on Tuesday agreed that it would take voter action to take “plantation” out of formal state titles.
But Raimondo spokeswoman Audrey Lucas told NBC News that the governor is within her power to strip the word from “gubernatorial orders and citations, executive branch agency websites, official correspondence and state employee pay stubs.”
State Treasurer Seth Magaziner on Monday announced that his office “will remove the words ‘and Providence Plantations’ from the state’s checks” and “from our letterhead, citations” and other correspondence.