After watching the critically acclaimed movie “Lincoln”, Dr. Ranjan Batra, associate professor of neurobiology and anatomical sciences at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, was inspired to do some slavery fact checking on his own. Dr. Batra, who only became a U.S citizen in 2008, discovered that Mississippi never got around to actually ratifying the amendment.
Even though Mississippi did vote in 1995, which wasn’t that long ago, to ratify the 13th amendment, there was a clerical error. To err is human, but this error pretty much allowed slavery to be legal until Dr. Batra brought it to their attention.
After Congress voted for the 13th Amendment in January 1864, the measure went to the states for ratification. On Dec. 6, 1865, the amendment received the three-fourths’ vote it needed when Georgia became the 27th state to ratify it. States that rejected the measure included Delaware, Kentucky, New Jersey and Mississippi. In the months and years that followed, states continued to ratify the amendment, including those that had initially rejected it. New Jersey ratified the amendment in 1866, Delaware in 1901 and Kentucky in 1976. But there was an asterisk beside Mississippi. A note read: “Mississippi ratified the amendment in 1995, but because the state never officially notified the US Archivist, the ratification is not official.”
Dr. Batra and his associate Ken Sullivan brought this clerical error to the attention of government officials in Mississippi this month. Mississippi finally did its due diligence and officially ratified the 13th Amendment. When asked about the state’s blunder, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, whose office filed the final papers this year said, “It was long overdue.”
How about that for a moment in Black History?