The state of Mississippi has corrected a clerical error that left unrecorded ratification of the 13th Amendment for 18 years.
The clerical error was discovered by Mississippi Dr. Ranjan Batra and Ken Sullivan who looked into an issue after watching the Oscar nominated movie "Lincoln."
The Legislature formally ratified the amendment, which outlawed slavery, in 1995. However, the ratification document was never presented to the U.S. Archivist, so it was never official.
"Just from what I have seen in Mississippi there is no one here who wants that still on the books," said Dr. Batra, Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomical sciences at the University of Mississippi. "I thought this is something that can should and is perfectly doable it was just a matter of what buttons to push."
After watching "Lincoln," which tells the story of the political struggle President Abraham Lincoln encountered while pushing for the passing of the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery, Dr. Batra had some lingering questions. The native of India, now a U.S. citizen, did some research.
"There is this one website that has an asterisk by Mississippi, and it says although Mississippi ratified it in 1995, it said it's not official because they didn't transmit the information to the National Archives," he said.
So he looked further and found that in 2010 the matter had come up in the State Legislature, but nothing was done about it then either. Dr. Batra took his findings to Sullivan, who got the ball moving.
"I took all my research and that bill to the Secretary of State's office and let them know what I wanted to get accomplished," Sullivan recalled. "Two days later I got a phone call.
State Sen. Hillman Frazier introduced the resolution to ratify the amendment in 1995. It unanimously passed but never become official because a copy of the resolution was never sent to the Office of the Federal Register.
The mistake was finally corrected on Jan. 30, 2013, when the paperwork was officially filed. The 13th Amendment was officially ratified to become official on Feb. 7.
"We have great people here and to be able to be connected to something that started 150 years ago that played so directly into the history of Mississippi and to get this on the books, is a wonderful feeling," Sullivan said. "I have used the word 'overwhelming' many times but that is the only way to describe it."
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