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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Library of Congress

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?

notsacredh
notsacredh

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.

gysgt213
gysgt213

@HardyCampbell Learning to read and comprehend was a huge step forward.  Don't get carried away.

bobell
bobell

@sacredh Let's be fair to Mississippians, sacred. They voted down that citizenship-for-fetuses bill (or whatever it's called). That makes them smarter than Paul Ryan, among others.

notsacredh
notsacredh

Scientists are comparing Mars' arid surface to Arizona-with one difference: The people of Mars willingly celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday - Craig Kilborn.

curt3rd
curt3rd

You mean the old Democratic Party.  Learn your history.

notsacredh
notsacredh

Never raise your hands to your kids. It leaves your groin unprotected - Red Buttons

MementoMori
MementoMori

@curt3rd Yeah, Dems like Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmund!

Whatever happened to those guys, anyway?

fitty_three
fitty_three

Oh, curt3d:

Did you hang your confederate flag upside down today?

MrObvious
MrObvious

@curt3rd 

It ain't anymore; what we see today is what you could argue was the old Dems. They're now the new GOPers.

LuisHernandez
LuisHernandez

@sacredh and before they bought the farm they became afull-fledged members of the GOP.

notsacredh
notsacredh

fhmadvocat, that was priceless. Of course they all have the right to do whatever they want to do, but at their age, they're just shadows of their former glory. Sometimes they even sound good (or at least decent), but it's like the NBA Oldtimers games, they were just sad. They used to soar like eagles but now they're often more like pigeons taking a crap on statues of who they used to be.

fhmadvocat
fhmadvocat

sacredh,

Blame it on Led Zeppelin getting the Kennedy Honors.  Plant has had no interest in resurrecting Zeppelin and of all the former members, he really wanted to move on.  However, I watched what happened when they performed "Stairway to Heaven", and I saw a tear in Plant's eye.  However, remember, Plant is not all that fond of "Stairway to Heaven."  (His favorite Led Zeppelin song, I believe is "Kashmir"), however, one could not be, but touched at Plant's reaction.

OT  Did you see Obama signing along to "Whole Lotta' Love"?  Priceless!!

notsacredh
notsacredh

The rancid odor should have been a dead giveaway.  Take our senators. Please.

MementoMori
MementoMori

@sacredh I meant "became Republicans', but I can easily understand how it can be hard to tell the difference.

bobell
bobell

@sacredh Yeah, but they sure took their time about it. Let's hope racism and longevity aren't connected.

TheDers
TheDers

@curt3rd apparently a few people who read time never really understood politics in the civil war. but what do you expect. i bet that guy doesnt even know what a CSA flag looks like.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@curt3rd  

No, but given your stab at the old Southern Strategy meme, I thought it might be appropriate ask you if you did.

curt3rd
curt3rd

Typical  liberal response.  When all else fails, call someone a racist.