At Last: Mississippi Becomes Final State Officially to Abolish Slavery

Monday, 18 Feb 2013 02:34 PM

By Dan Weil

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Mississippi has finally officially ratified the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which outlaws slavery — just 148 years late.

The decision means all 50 states have now ratified the amendment.

The state legislature actually approved the amendment in 1995, but its last paragraph required the secretary of state to send a copy to the federal register’s office, and that never happened.

Two professors discovered the snafu after research inspired by the movie Lincoln, The Guardian of London reports.

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Ranjan Batra, a neurobiology professor at the University of Mississippi Medical Center saw the film and grew curious about passage of the 13th Amendment after the Civil War. He discussed the issue with Ken Sullivan, an anatomical material specialist at UMC, who delved into the subject.

Sullivan remembered the 1995 votes by the legislature and hunted down a copy of the bill. When he found it, he discovered the additional requirement.

Sullivan contacted Mississippi secretary of state, Delbert Hosemann. He in turn sent the copy to the federal register’s office Jan. 30, and the bill became law Feb. 7.



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