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Professor offers new quiz game, takes Rhody talk on the road this winter

Dec. 24, 2012

Roberta Humble

Did you know that Rhode Island – the Ocean State – has a desert? Or that it is home to the nation’s oldest department store? Or that it is the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution in America?

These surprising facts and many more come to light in “The Big Rhode Island Quiz,” the latest work by CCRI English Professor and unofficial Rhode Island booster Roberta Mudge Humble.

There is a booklet version and a DVD version of “The Big Rhode Island Quiz,” each containing the same 120 questions on our state’s history, geography, people, sports, food and quirky regional dialect.

“I think Rhode Islanders will know at least 50 percent of these and learn from the other half,” Humble said.“My goal is to get people into conversation about Rhode Island and give them ammunition when people ask, ‘What goes on there?’”

This winter, Humble will take her passion for Rhode Island on the road during a sabbatical from CCRI. She will visit states in the South and Midwest and give a presentation titled, “Rhode Island and the Other 49,” which compares Rhody with its neighbors and shares fun facts about each of the states.

“I think it’s exciting because the idea of taking Rhode Island out to the rest of America is one of my goals and dreams,” Humble said. “I want to give us a sense of state pride.”

She will give her presentation for some of the secretaries of state and at Rotary Club meetings in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Montana, South Dakota and North Dakota, with more states possibly to follow. She visited Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts last summer.

Humble first gave this presentation in 2010 in Providence for the National Conference of Secretaries of State. She had been asked to give a speech on “Rhode Islandese,” the state’s quirky accent and slang terms, but thought that visitors would appreciate hearing about other states, too.

The presentation was a hit and invitations to deliver it on the road followed.

Humble has created many books and games about Rhode Island over the years, all with the goal of spreading pride among Rhode Islanders and awareness among out-of-staters, “who sometimes think we are an island or part of New York.” Her first Rhode Island book was “The Historic Armories of Rhode Island,” followed by “The RIght to Crow,” “Rhode Island’s Friendly Faces” and “Little Rhody & the Other 49.”

“The Big Rhode Island Quiz” (both DVD and booklet) is on sale throughout the state, including at Benny’s, the CCRI and University of Rhode Island book stores, independent book and gift shops, as well as online. A portion of the proceeds benefits the Westerly Armory.

The state’s economic downturn has dealt a blow to Rhode Islanders’ pride-of-place, Humble said, but people should try to be proud of where they live.

“It’s important for Rhode Islanders to share a love of this state when people come to visit so we can improve our image and start making life in Rhode Island better,” she said.

That is exactly what she intends to do on the road: serve as an ambassador to Little Rhody.

Visit the Westerly Armory website to learn more about Humble’s works, buy them online or find participating retail stores. “The Big Rhode Island Quiz” booklet costs $6.99 and the DVD version, which she says “is very basic … but it will tell you if you got the answer right or wrong,” costs $9.99.

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Last Updated: 9/13/16