Cover Story: Roger Williams Speaks (East Side Monthly, April 2017)
Have you ever stopped to think about what makes Rhode Island great? I’m not talking about our bustling restaurant scene, thriving arts culture, or any other aspect of the state that has made us a creative and collaborative capital, though these are all important. To understand how far we’ve come, we must consider our past.
We’re all familiar with Roger Williams, the Ocean State’s founding father. But did you know that he put his life on the line to create a democratic shift in our political system? That he was in the vanguard of the movement to separate church and state? And that he was one of the inspirations for the Bill of Rights?
Williams’ message of tolerance has never been more relevant than it is right now. And luckily his spirit and ideas are still evident throughout Providence today, including at the Roger Williams National Memorial Park Visitors Center. The center’s first new exhibit in more than 20 years, titled New and Dangerous Opinions, showcases how Williams’ ideas and beliefs are still important nearly 400 years later.
“Williams created a civil government here in Providence, and the people got together and decided what that government was going to do and what it was going to look like,” says John McNiff, a park ranger at Roger Williams National Memorial Park. “Up until then, everybody looked at the King as the king because God wanted him to be king.”
Read the full article at EastSideMonthly.com.