Better Late Than Never: Mississippi Officially Bans Slavery

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(Photo: KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo: KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

“Whoops.” Though not the official statement released by the state of Mississippi, it may as well have been after lawmakers last month took the necessary steps for Mississippi to finally ratify the 13th Amendment, making it the last state in the Union to do so.

In case your history is a little rusty, the 13th Amendment officially banned slavery in the U.S.

“But wasn’t that done by, like, Lincoln or something?” you may be asking. Why yes, the penny president did in fact go to great lengths to get the amendment ratified.

“Wait… But wasn’t that, like, a really long time ago?” you’re probably asking as you scratch your head. And again, yes, that was a long time ago. One-hundred forty-eight years ago to be exact.

But it wasn’t until February 7 that Mississippi finally took the plunge into the 19th century and did what every other state had already done; ban slavery.

What’s the deal Mississippi?

Well it turns out that Mississippi intended to ratify the 13th way back in 1995, making them out of touch by only one-hundred thirty years. However, after clearing state legislation, the measure never actually reached the Office of the Federal Register, according to the Huffington Post, and thus was never made official.

The oversight was caught by University of Mississippi Medical Center professor, Dr. Ranjan Batra, who recently saw the film, Lincoln, and was inspired to investigate what happened to the states which had initially banned the amendment.

News of the discovery eventually reached Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann’s office, which agreed to file the paperwork and officially ratify the 13th on February 7.

Despite the blunder, it’s kind of cool that the story of the 13th Amendment came full circle, starting and ending, with President Lincoln.


-Carlos Delgado, CBS Radio

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