After watching the critically acclaimed film, Dr. Ranjan Batra, of the University of Mississippi Medical Center, was inspired to take a deeper look into the amendment. Batra, a native of India who became a citizen in 2008, watched the film in November, and was curious about the next steps taken in banning slavery. He found that within a year, 27 of the then 36 states, ratified the amendment by the end of 1865.
Mississippi was one of four states rejecting the measure, waiting until 1995 to even attempt to make the change. However, a bill for the ratification —introduced by Sen. Hillman Frazier—was never made official since the U.S. archivist was not notified, despite it being passed in the state's House and Senate.
Batra alerted friend, Ken Sullivan, to his investigation. Sullivan remembered the 1995 resolution, and contacted Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hoseman, sending him a copy of the original paperwork. On Feb. 7, the documents were made official by the Federal Register. “We finally got it right,” Hoseman said.
Now, 148 years later, Mississippi has officially banned slavery in the state.
Better late, than never.
Photo: Libary of Congress