So... guess which state finally got around to abolishing slavery? Like, last week.

Did you know that Mississippi was the last state to officially ratify the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery? On February 7, the state finally submitted the required documentation to ratify the amendment. That means on February 7, slavery was officially banned in Mississippi. I'm talking about February 7, 2013: Mississippi Officially Abolishes Slavery, Ratifies 13th Amendment.

And it might have stayed that way on the books, if not for an amateur history buff named Ranjan Batra, professor of Neurobiology and Anatomical sciences at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, who was inspired to look into the Thirteenth Amendment and his state's history after watching the movie Lincoln. Imagine his surprise when he found out Mississippi never got around to actually ratifying the amendment:

The circumstances for Dr. Ranjan Batra almost inadvertently inserting himself into Mississippi state history are accidental at best. After seeing Lincoln in theaters last November, he went home and did a little bit of Internet research only to discover the Mississippi never got around to actually ratifying the amendement. The state did vote to ratify the amendment back in 1995, nearly 20 years after Kentucky, the second-to-last state to ratify the amendment, held its vote. However, through an apparent clerical error, Mississippi never officially notified the United States Archivist of the ratification, meaning that they've officially been on the side of slavery for a century-and-a-half. (That sounds kind of sensational when you put it like that, but heck, you'd think the state would double check on an issue as big as this.) Batra and his friend Ken Sullivan reported the mistake up the chain of command, and this month, Mississippi finally sent in the paperwork to complete its belated ratification of the Thirteen Amendment.
Here's to Dr. Batra, who can actually say he had a small part in lawfully ending slavery in Mississippi. More here: Thanks to 'Lincoln,' Mississippi Has Finally Definitely Ratified the Thirteenth Amendment.

angry archive