We are Rhode Island, and we're proud of it

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Most Rhode Islanders know the feeling of telling someone where they are from, and the common response that follows: “Where in New York is that?”

Roberta Mudge Humble knows how damaging it can be for the state’s self-image and wants to do something about it.

“You need some sort of self-esteem for yourself and for your state,” said Humble of Warwick. “The state needs more self-esteem.”

Speaking at the Warwick Rotary Club luncheon meeting Thursday, Humble showcased her new game called “I Am Rhode Island.” The game focuses on trivia that would stump even the most knowledgeable Rhode Islanders. The majority of the audience was confident when the game started, but some of the questions were tricky.

Did you know that Ann & Hope was the first major discount department store in America? What about the fact that Brown University was founded in 1764 in Warren, not Providence? Humble hopes everyone knows that Narragansett is home to the Towers. Listening to the presentation and hearing these tidbits truly emphasizes the rich history that Rhode Island has.

“I Am Rhode Island” is on schedule to be released in the fall. Alongside the game is “Secret Rhode Island,” an informational packet that highlights 58 underrated places in Rhode Island that are often overlooked, like the world’s oldest penny arcade in Burrillville.

As Humble says, “Rhode Island is not that big, it’s easy to get around.”

Humble is a newly retired professor from CCRI, as well as an author, public speaker and a proud bird owner. She was the first woman Rotarian on the East Coast and the first woman to be a Rotary Club president in Rhode Island.

However, Humble’s biggest passion in the state are its 18 historic armories. She is the current and founding president of the Westerly Armory Restoration, Inc.

“The armories represent sacrifices made for our freedom,” said Humble.

To boost morale, she has toured the state and the nation to talk about what Rhode Island has to offer. She spoke at the National Conference of Secretaries of States, where she was so well received that she was invited to speak further at various states. She wants to get the word out as much as possible.

“When I was invited to Montana, I didn’t just speak at one place,” she said. “I spoke at five.”

For Rhode Islanders who want to be able to throw out some fun facts on the go, “The Rhode Island Card” is a plastic, credit card-sized fact sheet filled with firsts and bests from the Ocean State, such as Rhode Island having the longest full state name but the shortest state motto [Hope], and that the country’s first state female attorney general was Arlene Violet of Providence.

“It’s nice when you’re on a plane, you can whip it out and ‘wow’ people,” said Humble. “If you don’t remember, you can go to the bathroom and come back with it memorized.”

To purchase Humble’s books and games about Rhode Island, visit westerlyarmory.com.

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