Mississippi finally ratifies amendment banning slavery

Updated
The Mississippi flag, photographed at the Capitol in Jackson, has been compared to a "badge of slavery," by civil rights groups.
The Mississippi flag, photographed at the Capitol in Jackson, has been compared to a "badge of slavery," by civil rights groups.
Rogelio Solis/AP

Welcome to the 19th century, Mississippi.

As of this month, Mississippi has finally officially ratified the 13th amendment that banned slavery, but it took the research of a curious University of Mississippi Medical Center professor and his colleague to make it happen.

According to the Jackson Clarion Ledger, Dr. Ranjan Batra and his colleague Ken Sullivan became inspired to find out their own state’s take on the amendment after seeing the Steven Spielberg film Lincoln last November.

What did they learn? Mississippi was one of four states that rejected ratification of the 13th amendment, along with New Jersey, Delaware, and Kentucky. The amendment passed without Mississippi’s support anyway, and all the other no-voting states symbolically ratified the amendment in the following years. New Jersey was quick, ratifying in 1866. Delaware had resolved the matter by 1901. Kentucky took a little longer, waiting until 1976. Mississippi lawmakers finally got around to it in 1995.

But it doesn’t appear to have been a huge priority, because the ratification was never sent to the Office of the Federal Register, which means it wasn’t official.

That’s what Batra learned after he found an asterisk next to Mississippi on the list of ratifying states. Sullivan put in a call to the Secretary of State Sullivan contacted the office of Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, who agreed to file the paperwork to make everything official, 18 years later.

Hosemann said he’s happy that the issue’s finally been resolved, “It was long overdue.”

Mississippi finally ratifies amendment banning slavery

Updated