Mississippi has officially joined the rest of the nation in ratifying the 13th Amendment that abolished slavery, officials say. While the amendment to the Constitution passed when three-quarters of the states ratified it in 1865, Mississippi didn't get around to voting in favor of it until 1995. But then someone dropped the ball and failed to notify the U.S. archivist so Mississippi was never officially marked down as having ratified the end to slavery.
That oversight was rectified this month after Ranjan Batra, an associate professor of neurobiology and anatomical sciences at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, learned about it after seeing the movie "Lincoln," The (Jackson) Clarion-Ledger reported Sunday.
Batra spoke with Ken Sullivan, an anatomical material specialist for the medical center's body donation program, who phoned the National Archives' Office of the Federal Register and confirmed Mississippi had failed to submit the required paperwork.
Sullivan tracked down a copy of the 1995 resolution, which stated the secretary of state was to send a copy to the Office of the Federal Register. Why that never happened is a mystery.
Sullivan contacted the office of Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, who submitted a copy of the resolution on Jan. 30. On Feb. 7, Charles A. Barth, director of the Federal Register, confirmed he had received it.
"With this action, the state of Mississippi has ratified the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States," Barth said.
Hosemann said he was pleased.
"It was long overdue," he said.
State Sen. Hillman Frazier, D-Jackson, who had introduced the 1995 resolution, also was happy to see it taken care of.
"We're very deliberate in our state. We finally got it right," Frazier said.
For Sullivan, the bottom line was clear: "There's no asterisk by Mississippi any more."
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