Lead: In 1636 Roger Williams, banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony, founded the colony of Rhode Island, a unique constitutional experiment in religious toleration.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Puritan preacher Roger Williams was banished from Massachusetts because his unorthodox views threatened colonial officials. Williams, a champion of religious freedom and favoring payment to Native Americans for unjust expropriation of their land, was banished from the colony in 1635 and ,before he could be deported back to England, he escaped south during the bitter winter and settled on Narragansett Bay near present-day Newport. There he became friendly with the Narragansett Indians and purchased from them land at the head of the bay. There, Williams established a village and a new colony, Rhode Island. Williams named the settlement Providence for what Williams said was his gratitude “for God’s merciful providence unto me in my distress.”