“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”
Recognize this phrase? No? Don’t worry….Mississippi either! I kid! But in all seriousness, Mississippi made quite a blunder here; thank goodness it was fixable in less than two centuries.
Mississippi Makes Law Official 148 Years Later
One hundred and forty-eight years after the thirteenth amendment was ratified by three quarters of the states, Mississippi legislature finally decided to do the same. According to state officials, a clerical error apparently prevented the law from becoming official.
The original amendment was enacted in 1865 which Mississippi originally rejected, though in 1995 the legislature voted to approve the amendment. Despite clearing both legislative chambers, the measure was never sent to the Office of the Federal Register and therefore remained unofficial until now.
How did this glaring oversight come to light you might ask? Great question! After seeing Oscar-nominated film "Lincoln," (which depicts none other than President Lincoln and his struggle to have the amendment passed), Dr. Ranjan Batra of Mississippi Medical Center decided to look into the history of what transpired after the amendment was put on the books. During his investigation he discovered the regrettable mistake, notified another Mississippi resident who eventually contacted Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann. According to Mr. Hosemann’s office, the necessary paperwork was filed and the thirteenth amendment is now in full effect in the great state, making Mississippi the last state to ratify the infamous amendment. Better late than never I suppose!
And there you have it…a lesson in history thanks to Hollywood! Who would have thought?!
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