Here is an interesting fact: Mississippi NEVER officially ratified the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution–you know, the one outlawing slavery.
This news is certain to help the
Republican Confederate Party and their celebration of Confederate History Month.
In a post last night MattR pointed out that Mississippi did not ratify the 13th Amendment until 1995. That was a pretty amazing factoid on its own, but then as I did a little research on the subject today I came across a very interesting footnote on USConstitution.net a long time site dedicated to the history of the US Constitution (emphasis added):
* Mississippi ratified the amendment in 1995, but because the state never officially notified the US Archivist, the ratification is not official.
The ‘recent’ drive to ratify the 13th Amendment in Mississippi was started by African-Americans like Jeremiah Blackwell who were outraged that Mississippi never signed onto a Federal Constitutional ban of slavery. Mr. Blackwell contacted his Mississippi State legislators and they introduced a Bill to ratify the 13th Amendment more than 130 years after the end of the Civil War. It was an interesting legislative battle and you can watch a news report on the the effort here. Even though this fight took place over 15 years ago the Confederates were making the same arguments against ratification that the
Republican Confederate Party and their Teabagger sycophants make about most issues these days.
Leading the charge against ratification was Mississippi State Senator Mike Gunn. He was last in the news for gassing goslings to death in his bar-b-que grill and he is well known in wingnut circles for his quip against gun control: “If guns are outlawed, how can we shoot liberals?” I was surprised to read that he used to get mad when local political cartoonists depicted him in KKK robes (I would have thought that he would have embraced that with white pride).
Anyway, in the news report above Gunn is the person the story quotes for balance. He is the voice of anti-ratification (emphasis added):
Mr. MIKE GUNN (State Senator): We need to work on those things that bring racial harmony and reconciliation. Not those things that drive a wedge between the races, and this is one of those issues.
See outlawing slavery is one of those issue that drive a wedge between the races and the Confederacy was all about reducing that friction by fighting to keep slavery legal. Gunn, like Haley Barbour (and Sonny Purdue of Georgia and Bob Riley of Alabama) are just trying to ‘bring racial harmony and reconciliation’ by celebrating Confederate History without any mention of slavery. It is mighty white of them to be so considerate.
In 1995 Mississippi finally ratified the 13th Amendment outlawing slavery. This grated on the “State’s Rights” folks because the State of Mississippi had passed their own law to ban slavery back in 1869 and they thought that should be enough. Like good Confederates the idea that they were part of a Union with Federal Laws that also had to be obeyed seemed to be a moral outrage to these racist deadenders. But in 1995 the media glare was on Mississippi and so they voted to ratify the 13th Amendment. The news was reported and the fact of the vote was noted as a ratification, but in order to be official the State of Mississippi had to send notice of the vote to the US Archivist. Somehow, over the last 15 years Mississippi has been unable to take that step and make their ratification of outlawing slavery official.
I guess Governor Barbour would call that a nit that is not worth a diddly. I think the fat bastard should send in the fucking paperwork and make it official. It would be a fine way to celebrate Confederate History month.
ps: Gene Robinson has a great column up about Governor Diddly and his defense of celebrating the Confederacy without mentioning slavery.