Feb 21 2013
Alternet: Mississippi Finally ‘Officially’ Banned Slavery — But It’s Alive and Well in America and the Rest of the World
In a major step forward, Mississippi banned slavery this week. This type of definite legislative action is ostensibly the type of thing to be excited about in an era of unprecedented political foot-dragging, so congratulations Mississippi for finally ratifying the Thirteenth Amendment. Sure, the state is a little behind the curve on this one, given that the nation is a full 148 years past the official end of slavery (more on that, in a second). But Mississippi isn’t the only state that took awhile to warm up to the idea that people shouldn’t own, sell, beat and rape other people in a nation that is largely (and perhaps falsely) recognized as one of the most civilized in the world.
Delaware waited until the turn of the twentieth century to ratify the Thirteenth Amendment, while Kentucky waited another three-quarters of a century, finally ratifying the legislation in 1976. That left Mississippi the last holdout state until it ratified the amendment in 1995. But this leap forward in Mississippi history didn’t become official until earlier this week, mostly because the state forgot to tell anyone–particularly the U.S. archivist–about its 1995 ratification. After a few Mississippians saw Lincoln, they noticed online that their own state wasn’t actually part of this historic ratification, and thus this week’s action.