According to the Clarion Ledger, a simple clerical error left the 13th amendment, the amendment that abolished slavery in 1865, unsigned in the state of Mississippi until February 7, 2013, nearly 150 years late.
Mississippi lawmakers unanimously voted to ratify the amendment in 1995 (still kind of late, don’t you think?), but an error led to the paperwork never arriving to the Office of Federal Register. Despite the vote, the amendment was never officially ratified in the state and was quickly forgotten about.
It wasn’t until Dr. Ranjan Batra, a neurobiology professor at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, saw the movie Lincoln, which focuses on the influential president’s fight to abolish slavery, that he decided to research Mississippi’s own history of the amendment. Batra discovered that Mississippi was one of the states that did not immediately ratify the amendment and an asterisk next to it on usconstitution.net indicated that ratification was still not official. The note read:
“Mississippi ratified the amendment in 1995, but because the state never officially notified the US Archivist, the ratification is not official.”
Bantra mentioned the fact to his friend, Ken Sullivan, who notified the office of Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann. A week later, history was made and Federal Register Director Charles Barth confirmed that the paperwork was received and the error was corrected.
“With this action, the State of Mississippi has ratified the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States,” Barth wrote.
It just goes to show you how influential President Abraham Lincoln was, when 148 years after his death he is still making history.
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