19 February 2013

Mississippi Takes a Bold Step into the 1870s

By KEVIN ROBILLARD | 2/19/13 7:28 AM EST

A hundred and forty-eight years after it became law, and 18 years after passing it, Mississippi officially ratified the 13th Amendment banning slavery.

The cause of the delay? A clerical error, according to The Jackson Clarion-Ledger.

In 1995, Mississippi was the only state not to have passed the 13th Amendment. While it passed unanimously, the resolution was never sent to the Office of the Federal Register at the National Archives, a required step.

Two University of Mississippi employees — Ranjan Bantra, a doctor who became a U.S. citizen in 2008 and Ken Sullivan, who works for the university’s body donation program — started researching after seeing “Lincoln,” about the 16th president’s efforts to pass the amendment through Congress. Sullivan eventually contacted the Mississippi Secretary of State’s office, which was able to fix the error. On Feb. 7, the Archives wrote back that Mississippi’s ratification was official.

“Now it’s officially filed and recorded,” Sullivan told the paper over the weekend. “There’s no asterisk by Mississippi anymore.”