The thirteenth amendment, which makes slavery illegal, was adopted at the end of the Civil War in 1865 when it acquired three fourth of the necessary vote from the states. Mississippi was not part of that three fourths, since lawmakers at the time were upset that they were not compensated for losing their slaves. Approximately 148 years later, Mississippi finally took care of the unfinished business by officially ratifying the thirteenth amendment on February 7th, 2013.
Dr. Ranjan Batra conducted an investigation of the ratification process after viewing the film Lincoln. He said “At the end of the story there was an open question about how the ratification process proceeded. Living in the South as I do, I found that a pretty big open question.” It turns out that Mississippi actually ratified in 1995 (only 130 years later!), but the paperwork never became official so an asterisk was placed next to the state. After further investigation, it was discovered that Mississippi had yet to officially abolish slavery until it finally did so this year.
I find it hard to believe that something like this could happen. With the amount of information and research available today, I would think that someone would notice this “minor” detail. Apparently, everyone just assumed that things were taken care of, but a red flag should have at least been raised in 1995 when an asterisk was put next to the name. Somebody must have known that it was not official. Anyway, I find it pretty cool that the movie Lincoln inspired the investigation that ultimately led to the last state finally abolishing slavery. Abraham Lincoln finished what he started nearly 150 years ago.
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