Mississippi Officially Abolishes Slavery, Ratifies 13th Amendment

slavery

Two medical school colleagues, one an immigrant from India, the other a life-long Mississippian, joined forces to resolve a historical oversight that until this month had never officially been corrected.

The oversight was no small one either. Until February 7, 2013, the state of Mississippi had never submitted the required documentation to ratify the Thirteenth Amendment, meaning it never officially had abolished slavery.

The  amendment was adopted in December 1865 after the necessary three-fourths of the then 36 states voted in favor of ratification.  Mississippi, however, was a holdout; at the time state lawmakers were upset that they had not been compensated for the value of freed slaves.

Dr. Ranjan Batra, professor of Neurobiology and Anatomical sciences at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, said he was inspired to investigate the history of the Thirteenth Amendment in his state after a viewing of the film “Lincoln.”

“At the end of the story there was an open question about how the ratification process proceeded,” he said.  “Living in the South as I do, I found that a pretty big open question.”

So  Batra proceeded to do some investigating of his own, noticing on the website usconstitution.net, that there was an asterisk next to the state of Mississippi in connection with the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment.

“Mississippi ratified the amendment in 1995, but because the state never officially notified the US Archivist, the ratification is not official,” reads the statement on the website.  Batra felt compelled to act to rectify the clerical oversight.

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