Wonders Never Cease
It took 148 years, but the state of Mississippi finally ratified the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, making it illegal to own slaves. The question is, why did it take so long? There are many examples where old laws have never been purged from the books. Some examples are that it is illegal in Missouri to drive with an uncaged bear, in Philadelphia, you are not allowed to put pretzels in a bag (based on an Act from 1760), in Colorado, a cat cannot be outside at night unless it has a taillight (what?), and in Kentucky, a person must take a bath once a year or face prosecution.
The 13th Amendment was written into law in 1865, immediately following the end of the War Between the States. However, many southern states, Mississippi included, refused to ratify the law. Those states that refused were forced into Reconstruction. It didn’t take long for Alabama, Georgia, and most other states to ratify the amendment, but for some reason, Mississippi held out.
Fast forward to 1995, when it was discovered that the law STILL hadn’t been ratified. Remarkably, Mississippi lawmakers didn’t officially abolish slavery until that year. However, the state failed to notify the U. S. Archivist, so it was never official.
The oversight might have never been discovered if it weren’t for Dr. Ranjan Batra, who is an associate professor at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. When Dr. Batra saw the movie “Lincoln,” he grew curious about what happened once the states voted on ratification. It was then that he learned of the clerical error, and the correct paperwork was filed on February 7. Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann admitted that “It was long overdue.” Ya think?