Cicilline, Langevin Introduce Bill to Honor Rhode Island Icon

May 1, 2019 Issues: Rhode Island

WASHINGTON – U.S. Congressman David N. Cicilline (RI-01) introduced legislation today with Congressman James Langevin (RI-02) to honor Elizabeth Buffum Chace, a leader in the Rhode Island abolitionist and suffrage movements, by renaming the United States Post Office at 575 Dexter Street in Central Falls in her honor. The opportunity to honor Chace in this way was first brought to the Congressman’s attention by Central Falls Mayor James A. Diossa.

“Elizabeth Buffum Chace represents the very best that Rhode Island has to offer, and she did it at a time during which she knew she could be persecuted for her advocacy and actions,” Cicilline said. “This bill will permanently memorialize Elizabeth Buffum Chase by dedicating the Central Falls Post Office in her honor. I’m proud to lead the effort in Congress to recognize the work that she did to make our state and our nation a better place, and I look forward to seeing this bill signed into law.”

“As a prominent activist for women’s rights, the abolition of slavery, and prison reform, Elizabeth Buffum Chace led an extraordinary life on the front lines of social justice,” said Langevin. “Dedicating the Central Falls Post Office in her name will further recognize her many accomplishments that remain relevant today. I’m proud to join Congressman Cicilline in this effort to commemorate her powerful legacy.”

“Elizabeth Buffum Chace was a giant in the fight to end slavery and give women the right to vote. We are proud to call her one of our own and honored to have her legacy commemorated at our Post Office,” Diossa said. “Renaming this Post Office will establish a lasting landmark for the work she did. I am grateful that Congressman Cicilline is introducing this bill today.”

A lifelong Rhode Islander, Elizabeth Buffum Chace was born in Providence in December of 1806. She was raised by parents who actively opposed slavery and even harbored fugitive slaves seeking refuge in Rhode Island. Following in her parents footsteps, she became a prominent activist in the abolitionist movement and opened her home to runaway slaves as well.

Chace also spent much of her fighting for women’s rights and prison reform. Known as the “Conscience of Rhode Island” for her advocacy and passion for creating social change, Chace’s legacy continues on today in the form of the Elizabeth Buffum Chace Center at the Warwick Junior League Women’s Club, a shelter for women and children suffering from the ramifications of domestic violence.

A companion bill has been introduced in the Senate by Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).