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Mississippi Finally Gets Around To Ratifying 13th Amendment

It took 147 years, but the Southern state just agreed to abolish slavery. Thanks, Lincoln!

Posted on February 18, 2013, at 5:03 p.m. ET


A scene from Lincoln.

It started, as the Clarion Ledger notes, with a screening of the Academy Award-nominated Lincoln. Mississippi resident and India native Dr. Ranjan Batra watched the movie "and wondered afterward what happened when the states voted on ratification."

She later learned online that New Jersey, Delaware, Kentucky and Mississippi rejected ratifying the amendment in 1865.

In the 147 years since the 13th Amendment became national law, those four states have come around. Except, technically, Mississippi.

Gerald Herbert / AP

A confederate flag is seen at a tombstone at Jefferson Davis' historic home in Biloxi, Miss., on Aug. 16, 2012, during commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

In 1995, a state resolution was introduced to ratify the amendment. It passed through the Mississippi Legislature, but for some unknown reason, the Secretary of State never completed the final step — sending a copy to the Office of the Federal Register.

Batra shared her research with a colleague, Ken Sullivan, who contacted the office of Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann. According to the Ledger, Hosemann then sent a copy of the 1995 resolution to the U.S. archivist, and on Feb. 7, the Director of the Federal Register made the state's ratification official.

As Hosemann later told the newspaper, "It was long overdue."

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.