A historical oversight meant an asterisk next to Mississippi on the list of states that had ratified the 13th Amendment.
Thanks in part to an immigrant from India and the Oscar-nominated movie "Lincoln," Mississippi has officially abolished slavery — a century and a half after the 16th U.S. president declared slaves free.
The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which outlawed slavery, was adopted by Congress in 1864, a year after Abraham Lincoln delivered the Emancipation Proclamation. States ratified the amendment in 1865.
Mississippi formally ratifies 13 Amendment banning slavery
Mississippi, which initially rejected the amendment, finally got around to passing a resolution in 1995 formally ratifying it. But somehow, through a mix-up, the National Archives office never received a copy of the resolution. That meant that the state's ratification wasn't officially recorded — until earlier this month.
Ranjan Batra, associate professor of neurobiology and anatomical sciences at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, told the Jackson Clarion-Ledger he went on the Internet to research state votes on the 13th Amendment after watching "Lincoln" in November. The critically acclaimed Steven Spielberg film recounts Lincoln's struggles in dealing with the battlefield carnage of the Civil War and his decision to emancipate slaves.
More on Presidents Day from MSN
Batra, a native of India who became a U.S. citizen in 2008, discovered that in official federal records there was "an asterisk" beside Mississippi indicating its ratification was never made official, the Clarion-Ledger reports.
Batra approached a colleague, Ken Sullivan, an anatomical material specialist for UMC's body donation program, who took his family to see the film and then contacted Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann.
Hosemann agreed to file the necessary paperwork with the Office of the Federal Register to make the resolution official.
According to the Clarion-Ledger, Charles A. Barth, director of the Federal Register, wrote back on Feb. 7, saying he had received the resolution: "With this action, the State of Mississippi has ratified the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States."
And the rest, as they say, is history.
MSN News on Facebook and Twitter
Stay up to date on breaking news and current events.
Friend us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/news.msn
Follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/msnnews