February 21, 2013

Mississippi Finally Files Its Paperwork

The state of Mississippi finally ratified the Thirteenth Amendment, which outlawed slavery in the U.S., in 1995. But the paperwork didn't actually reach the National Archives until this month. Why did it take so long? It might have taken even longer. Dr. Ranjan Batra, who works for the University of Mississippi Medical Center, happened to see Lincoln, the Steven Spielberg film, and wondered when the state ratified the amendment. He found the record of the state's vote, dated 1995, but no indication that Mississippi was listed in national records as having ratified the amendment, and mentioned the fact to a co-worker, Ken Sullivan. Dr. Sullivan took up the question with Mississippi's present Secretary of State, who dug out the paperwork, to discover that the paperwork was never sent in to the National Archives; he sent it in. Dr. Sullivan received notice of the National Archives' recordation on Lincoln's birthday. Another example of the power of film, and the power of Lincoln.

Here, Jon Stewart has fun with Mississippi's embarrassment over failing to file 13th Amendment paperwork.

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