Mississippi Finally Ratifies the Amendment to Ban Slavery — 148 Years Later

And believe it or not, it's all thanks to the movie 'Lincoln'.

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Here’s an outcome the producers of the movie Lincoln probably never expected: it indirectly led to the official ratification of the 13th amendment to ban slavery in Mississippi, nearly 150 years after its adoption.

The story began in November last year, when Ranjan Batra, an associate professor at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, went to see director Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-nominated historical drama Lincoln, reports the Jackson, Miss. Clarion-Ledger. Spielberg’s civics lesson tells the story of the final months of President Abraham Lincoln’s life and his efforts to get the 13th amendment to the U.S. Constitution passed by the House of Representatives.

(PHOTOS: The Men Behind Lincoln: Daniel Day-Lewis and Steven Spielberg by Marco Grob )

After watching the film, Batra was curious to find out what happened to the amendment once it was passed. It went on to be adopted in less than a year when 27 of the then 36 states ratified it by the end of 1865. Mississippi was the last of these states to do so — they finally got around to it in 1995 — but Batra spotted a curious detail next to the state’s name on thewebsite usconstitution.net: the ratification was unofficial, as Mississippi never formally notified the U.S. archivist.

Batra mentioned the oversight to a friend, Ken Sullivan, who recalled the 1995 debate over the law and tracked down a copy of the resolution. It had been passedby the Mississippi Senate and House — unanimously, recalled the bill’s introcuder, Sen. Hillman Frazier to the Clarion-Ledger — but inexplicably had never beensent to the Office of the Federal Register.

(MORE: Should States Apologize for Slavery?)

Once the paperwork was eventually filed, the state received notification on Feb. 7 from the director of the Federal Register that it had officially ratified the 13th Amendment — 148 years late. “We finally got it right,” Frazier said to the newspaper.

31 comments
tvgord
tvgord

I was just going through some old VHS tapes of Michael Moore's TV Nation, and found a 1995 piece correspondent Rusty Cundieff did on the supposed 1995 abolition.  He went to Mississippi to buy some slaves before it was abolished and he found five white families who were only too happy to sell some of their freeloading sons!  LOL!  It was a really well-done piece.  At the end, he freed them, but they just hung around on the sidewalk, not knowing what to do with themselves.  He had to shoo them away!  Some pretty biting social commentary!

HardyCampbell
HardyCampbell

Wow. What'll they do next in Mississippi? Invent fire?

sacredh
sacredh

So, I'm guessing women will get the right to vote in Mississippi fairly soon? 2161?

fitty_three
fitty_three

It's a sign of the times.  The Old GOP is now dying off, and with it, their base.

TyPollard
TyPollard

Now if we could do something about the simmering resentment many older (and some younger) white southerners (and northerners)  feel toward advancement in racial equity and fairness.

MrObvious
MrObvious

Krazy, I wonder why it tooK them so long to ratify this Konstitutional amendment?

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

So eager to ban slavery that it took 18 years after they passed the amendment to actually, y'know, pass the amendment.