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College Hill in Providence in Providence County, Rhode Island — The American Northeast (New England)
 

The Prophet of Religious Freedom

 
 
The Prophet of Religious Freedom Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By William Fischer, Jr., May 19, 2018
1. The Prophet of Religious Freedom Marker
Inscription.  

Forced worship stinks in God's nostrils.
Roger Williams, in a letter to Connecticut
Governor Thomas Prence (1670)

The steeple in front of you is the First Baptist Church in America, gathered by Roger Williams in 1638. Williams was deeply religious, but adamant in his belief that religious and civil life should be separate. Raised and ordained in the Church of England, Williams and his wife, Mary, fled with other Puritan reformers to New England in 1631. After settling in Massachusetts Bay Colony, his separatist views threatened colonial leadership, and he was banished.

Williams founded a new community called Providence. Here, he insisted that civil rather than religious law would govern and that "all were free to walk as their conscience persuades them." Williams's legacy lives on in the Rhode Island Charter and the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

[Background illustration caption reads]
Although a devout Christian, Williams eventually denounced formal religion, preferring instead small, home-based meetings for preaching and religious fellowship.
 
Erected by

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National Park Service.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Churches & ReligionColonial EraSettlements & Settlers. A significant historical year for this entry is 1638.
 
Location. 41° 49.74′ N, 71° 24.593′ W. Marker is in Providence, Rhode Island, in Providence County. It is in College Hill. Marker is at the intersection of Main Street (U.S. 44) and Court Street, on the left when traveling north on Main Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Providence RI 02903, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Roger Williams National Memorial (a few steps from this marker); Channeling Progress (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Meeting Street School (about 300 feet away); a different marker also named The Meeting Street School (about 300 feet away); Aquene. Eniskeetompowaug. (about 300 feet away); Shakespeare's Head (about 300 feet away); Court and State House (about 400 feet away); College Hill Historic District (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Providence.
 
Also see . . .
1. Roger Williams. Roger Williams National Memorial website entry (Submitted on August 26, 2018, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.) 

2. Roger Williams ... A Brief Biography. Roger Williams Family
The Prophet of Religious Freedom Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By William Fischer, Jr., May 19, 2018
2. The Prophet of Religious Freedom Marker
Looking south along Main Street, with The First Baptist Church in America steeple in distance.
Association website entry (Submitted on August 26, 2018, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.) 
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on March 5, 2023. It was originally submitted on August 26, 2018, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 317 times since then and 45 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on August 26, 2018, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.

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May. 22, 2024