Mississippi “forgot” to abolish slavery

By now you may have heard that on February 7th of this year, 2013, the state of Mississippi officially  abolished slavery by adopting the 13th amendment to the Constitution.  Here’s the text of the document that Mississippi only got around to officially ratifying two weeks ago.

Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Let’s face it, due diligence in rectifying the crimes of the past hardly wins you any merit badges in Mississippi, a state where 46% of “hardcore Republican voters” polled in 2011 thought inter-racial marriage should be against the law, and in which a middle school in 2010 couldn’t understand why it was a problem that only white students were permitted to run for class president.

So it’s little wonder that “someone forgot” to file the paperwork to officially get rid of slavery until 148 years after the 13th amendment became a permanent part of the US Constitution in 1865. Oops.

Now, defenders of Mississippi will argue that this isn’t entirely true.  Mississippi didn’t just officially end slavery.  The  year Mississippi took its brave stand against enslaving African-Americans was not 2013.  It was 1995.  Only 130 years too late.  So there.

oops secret whoops

I knew I forgot something. (via Shutterstock)

But in the ensuing years, everyone in Mississippi simply “forgot” to officially notify the US Archivist of the amendment’s ratification by their state, so it never counted, until now.  It seems someone was watching the movie “Lincoln,” saw that Mississippi had yet to ratify, and he raised enough trouble back home to get the thing done.

But seriously.  Come on.  They just forgot?

You forget to get toothpaste.  You forget to pick up the laundry.  You might, on a really horrifically bad day forget your anniversary.  But you forget to end slavery?  Really, Mississippi?

You know what else Mississippi forgot?  To ratify the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote in 1920.  Mississippi finally got around to that one in 1984 – 64 years too late, and dead last among the states.

We can all laugh at this story, but these are the kind of people we have to deal with, negotiate with in Congress, to get things done in this country.  These are the kind of people who make up a good part of the base of the Republican party.  If it’s not about God, gays or guns, they’re not interested.  So it’s no wonder America is falling behind the rest of the world with regards to the civil rights of gays and trans people in comparison to, say, Mexico.  Mexico doesn’t  have to deal with Mississippi.

In Mississippi’s defense, when the resolution passed in 1995, it was unanimous.  Sort of.

“It was unanimous,” Frazier recalled. “Some didn’t vote, but we didn’t receive a ‘nay’ vote.”

Yes, not everyone voted to end slavery, but no one voted against ending slavery.  And in Mississippi, you take your civil rights victories however, and whenever, you can get them.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • JULIA

    I am so disappointed, that Is the white wo-men have taken so long to rid ourselves of this crule crime, but it should be noted that At one time, Spain claimed and controlled North America west of the Mississippi and south of the Canadian border. Additionally, east of the Mississippi River, Spain claimed what is now the state of Florida and parts of Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi. (the church of england ) nooooooooooo.lol thats why i dont do re·li·gion. love and peace.JULIES

  • bcurt

    February 23, 1870. after ratifying the ammendment, Mississippi re-entered the Union.
    The government in Mississippi could have avoided it altogether since the US Constitution and it’s ammendments apply to all people in any area controlled by state or federal power. They already knew it was law.
    Has YOUR state ratified and added to YOUR state’s constitution, ALL of the ammendments to the US Constitution??????

  • bcurt

    i just love them thar morons. dey kant think fer themselves , and shore fergets alot’a stuff. oh, thangs like ya dont listens to the hole dang testimony, or the hole set a witnesses or the useless set a laws, or the jury charge, or fergets to THINK, or fergets to read that they hadn’t fergot to ratify the law, or that innocent until proven guilty as sin means horsehocky , cuz it means innocent till sum moron says wat the fuk we goin listen to testimony fer, he’s a fuk’n Suthrrner aint he! Now them them Indonesians in huts with no written language have traditions and religion an customs and values, they don’t know men have been to the moon, but we need to respect their way o life. But dem m’rfkr in Georgia or Mississippi they jus stupid white folk! They aint real human-christian smart nonjudgmental white folk like us up here. uuuiwe he hot a gun in his car or house or on his hip he a repblikan! He a nut job fer shore. we aint gotta reaf no legitimet FBI reports, or thr constipation fer dat matter. Dat Ximmermsn dog he clearly one dem hot headed latino wetback fersure so he guilyy. Don’t fuk’n tell me I should resd the court trandcropt, or vonsyitution, or check what the evidence ACTUALLY is. I’m s white guy from up North so err-go (pun) I know it all ready. Don’t fkn ask me HOW I know cuz I seriously would not comprehend the question. “HOW CAN I KNOW WHAT THE CONSTITUTION MEANS WITHOUT HAVING READ IT? HOW CAN I KNOW HE’S GUILTY WITHOUT HAVING HEARD THE WHOLE TRIAL?”….WTF does that mean??? Now git outa my way so I csn watch the simpsons!

  • IL&MO

    Words & actions are powerful and MS sent a powerful message by “forgetting” something that is incredibly important and symbolic to many people. I think of this every time I hear some unenlightened person defend George Zimmerman.

  • Southern Pride

    Ok, so it was not ratified until 2013, but when was the last tiem someone picked cotton without due pay???? Regardless of when something was put into effect the issue had stopped. So give it a rest, we are still ahead of Arkansas and still have more common sense than anyone above the Mason Dixon line…..Find something else to make a story.

  • LoStranger

    ONLY IN AMERIKKKA ROFL

  • Scottsboro Boys

    SICKENING and utterly repulsive beyond words, like Samuel Leibowitz once said, “If you ever saw those creatures, those bigots whose mouths are slits in
    their faces, whose eyes pop out like a frog’s, whose chins drip tobacco
    juice, bewhiskered and filthy, you would not ask how they could do it.” The America I hope for, for my own child’s sake is a properly and thoroughly educated one. What makes it into the history books taught in this nation is creative fiction at best. Mississippi will get no pat on the back for leaving the Waffle House to fill out paperwork 148 years too late as far as my recollection of accurate history stands- DISGRACEFUL!

  • stargene

    Sadly but truly, yes. Mississippi as the heart of the deep south, and
    even continuing at the repulsive pandering of the republican party, is
    just the tip of the ugly iceberg fact… that a large portion of NRA/
    gun loving whites throughout the south are still fighting the Civil
    War. If the south ever ‘rises again’, it will be only after these whites
    finally cop to and understand the monstrous, frightful holocaust
    they and their ancestors carried out on black people, not to
    mention any whites ‘foolish’ enough to sympathize and give aid.
    What will it take for such a thing to happen?

  • Mandy

    I live in Mississippi, and I can say that it is somewhat behind the times when it comes to a lot things, but for the most part Northeast Mississippi is fairly modern. I feel as though many do not want change, and there are some who are afraid to voice their opinions. I am a forty year old African American woman, who desires more, and am getting ready to relocate to Tennessee. I just earned a Bachelors degree, and am not able to find a job that is willing to pay over $25,000 per year. I can not live off of that small amount of money. I pray for a change for Mississippi, but I feel as though there are some things about it that will never change.

  • Bill_Perdue

    They needn’t have bothered with ratification. Slavery was continued first under Jim Crow Laws and now under the guise of enforcing drug laws. Mississippi has always been in the forefront of crating laws to continue slavery by other means instead of trying to reintroduce chattel slavery.

  • BillFromPA

    Hardly a surprise as Mississippi’s Article of Secession was by far the most racist, pro-slavery and bellicose of any of the confederate states. Here;s a small sample of Mississippi’s reason for wanting to break up the Union:

    “Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of
    slavery – the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the
    product, which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of
    commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the
    tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can
    bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the
    world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization.”

    If ever you meet a peckerwood selling the notion that the Civil War was not about slavery but rather state’s rights, show him this, and the articles by the other slave states as well

  • silas1898

    I’m surprised they don’t forget to breathe.

  • http://fighttherightwingnuts.blogspot.com/ mike31c

    Glad to see this backwards red state is trying to crawl into the 20th Century! :p

  • FuzzyRabbit

    “Yes, not everyone voted to end slavery, but no one voted against ending slavery. ”

    Mighty white of them!

  • Jim Olson

    So, why exactly did we just not let all of these net-taker Southern states secede when we had the chance? Slavery would have ended soon enough….it was already becoming an untenable position to hold elsewhere around the world at the time and many nations would have stopped trading/dealing with the CSA for it. Perhaps the next time one of these nasty places decide that they want to go it alone without interference from the US government, we should encourage them to do so.

  • FLL

    Mississippi has the highest rates of teen pregnancy for both black and white teens. White teens in Mississippi are almost twice as likely to get pregnant as a white teen from another area of the country. Mississippi also takes first prize for obesity. List of things likely to be forgotten in Mississippi:

    (1) Forgot to outlaw slavery
    (2) Forgot to take birth control
    (3) Forgot to replace abstinence-only sex education with anything more effective
    (4) Forgot to get married
    (5) Forgot to avoid obesity and type 2 diabetes by cutting down on eating at Chick-fil-A (chicken rolled in white flour, white sugar and butter, and then deep-fried)
    (6) Forgot that the earth is 4.5 billion years old

    The average bigot in Mississippi sometimes behaves as though he or she has an alternate theory of the solar system: The earth doesn’t revolve around the sun; instead, the sun revolves around his or her asshole.

  • http://twitter.com/cambridgemac Michael Connolly

    We’re Number One! Yay US! Everyone wants to be like us! Well, maybe just Somalia and Uzbekistan…..

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