Error caused delay in ratifying 13th amendment - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Error caused delay in ratifying 13th amendment

(WMC-TV) - Why did it take so long for the state of the Mississippi to ratify the amendment ending slavery. An error in 1995 caused the delay.

The Oscar nominated movie "Lincoln" tells the story of our country's 16th president, the aftermath of the civil war, and the fight to abolish slavery.

The movie and its message made an impact on Dr. Ranjan Batra, who is a professor and researcher at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

"Living here in Mississippi, I kind of wondered where Mississippi stood in all of this," said Dr. Batra.

Dr. Batra is an immigrant from India, who became a United States citizen in 2008. He has lived in Mississippi for 13 years. After he saw the movie, he did some investigating.

What he learned was shocking.

Mississippi waited until 1995 to ratify the 13th amendment but there was an asterisk on the official records. Why? There was no paperwork filed with the Federal Register to make the ratification official, in other words, the ratified vote to abolish slavery was never made official in Mississippi.

Dr. Batra's shock then led to action.

His shock then led to action

"This is something that should be fixable one way or another and I really felt the key was to find someone who knew the system had dealt with politics to some extent in Mississippi," he explained.

That person was Ken Sullivan, a colleague and fellow researcher at University of Mississippi Medical Center.

He made contacts, went through political channels and got the ratification vote officially filed and archived with the help of Mississippi's Secretary of State Delbert Hoseman.

It became official on February 7, 2013. That is 148 years after the emancipation proclamation.

Copyright 2013 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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