I know some people believe in being fashionably late, but come on Mississippi, this is a little absurd. After 148 years, Mississippi has finally ratified the 13th Amendment, and how someone realized that hadn’t actually happened yet is really quite interesting.
It turns out Dr Ranja Batra, a professor in the department of neurobiology and anatomical sciences at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, saw Steven Spielberg’s film Lincoln (which is really quite good and you should go see it) and was intrigued as to how the amendment was implemented. Batra discussed the issue with Ken Sullivan, long-time Mississippi resident and anatomical material specialist at UMC.
Sullivan remembered in Mississippi voted to ratify the 13th Amendment in 1995, however after some research learned it had never became official. Sullivan then read a copy of the bill and discovered a little oversight. He learned in the very last paragraph the Miss. Secretary of State is required to send a copy to the office of the federal register to officially sign it into law, which would explain why it wasn’t official yet.
Sullivan contacted Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann and notified him of the oversight, Hosemann then filed the paperwork and sent a copy of the 1995 Senate resolution, adopted by both the Mississippi Senate and House, to the Office of the Federal Register on January 30th.
On February 7th, Charles A. Barth, director of the Federal Register, made the ratification official.
And that’s the story of how Steven Spielberg helped ratify the 13th Amendment in Mississippi.