Mississippi and the abolition of slavery … in 2013

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

The 13e amendment abolishing slavery was passed by Congress in January 1964. To acquire its constitutional value, it had to be ratified by three-quarters of the states, which is the case when Georgia becomes 27e State (out of 36) to do so in December 1865.

Date of ratification, State by State

state Dated
1 Illinois Feb. 1, 1865
2 Rhode Island Feb. 2, 1865
3 Michigan Feb. 3, 1865
4 Maryland Feb. 3, 1865
5 New York Feb. 3, 1865
6 Pennsylvania Feb. 3, 1865
7 West Virginia Feb. 3, 1865
8 Missouri Feb. 6, 1865
9 Maine Feb. 7, 1865
10 Kansas Feb. 7, 1865
11 Massachusetts Feb. 7, 1865
12 Virginia Feb. 9, 1865
13 Ohio Feb. 10, 1865
14 Indiana Feb. 13, 1865
15 Nevada Feb. 16, 1865
16 Louisiana Feb. 17, 1865
17 Minnesota Feb. 23, 1865
18 Wisconsin Feb. 24, 1865
19 Vermont March 8, 1865
20 Tennessee April 7, 1865
21 Arkansas April 14, 1865
22 Connecticut Mayi 4, 1865
23 New Hampshire Jul 1, 1865
24 Caroline from the south Nov 13, 1865
25 Alabama Dec. 2, 1865
26 North Carolina Dec. 4, 1865
27 Georgia Dec. 6, 1865
28 Oregon Dec. 8, 1865
29 California Dec. 19, 1865
30 Florida Dec. 28, 1865
31 Iowa Jan 15, 1866
32 New Jersey Jan 23, 1866
33 Texas Feb. 18, 1870
34 Delaware Feb. 12, 1901
35 Kentucky March 18, 1976
36 Mississippi March 16, 1995 *

* unofficial ratification until 2013

Of course, the story does not end there

This is only the beginning of this deep split between the North and the South, crystallized around the famous Jim Crow laws. The chaos that will mark the families finally released, but broken down, as illustrated by the novel “Freeman” by Leonard Pitts. The long struggle for civil rights, embodied by Rosa Parks, and finally exposed by Freedom Summer and especially the murder of three white students from the North, immortalized by the film Mississippi Burning.

Rosa Parks

However, a number of federated states are still – still – slow to ratify this amendment.

American slaves in 1860
American slaves in 1860

Moreover, in Mississippi, there was still a form of serfdom until the 1960s – and whose existence would not be known until much later – where, despite the abolition of slavery a century earlier, a a number of African American families are kept in the dark and continue to be enslaved, beaten, terrorized and to work for free. More than a century later.

But in 1995, the latest, the state of Mississippi voted – well – for ratification.

The story could have ended there

In reality, because Mississippi has not officially notified the official federal records, the ratification has no legal value.

It will take a movie (Lincoln – focused on the political battle around the adoption of 13e amendment), two researchers who note this incongruity (Ranjan Batra and Ken Sullivan), and the confirmation of the reception by the federal register of the required documents so that finally, last February 7, it could be said that “The State of Mississippi ratified the 13e amendment to the Constitution of the United States ”.

Would the story end there?

As for slavery, yes.

As for mentalities, not so sure. Discrimination remains very high in Mississippi, whether its socio-economic or even racial foundations. Of course there is no longer any question of slavery. But degrading treatment, to which African-Americans are more often subjected than whites. The most glaring example is that of corporal punishment in schools.

They are licensed in a number of Bible Belt states, again today in 2013.

And this process, from which African-American students suffer more often as the testimonies show, confines minorities (economic and racial) in a logic of reproduction of violence. And draw, if we stick to the percentages, the contours of Dixieland. One example among many that history has not yet come to an end …

Elisabeth Vallet

Associate Professor in the Geography Department of UQAM and Director of Research at the Raoul-Dandurand Chair

Twitter @ geopolitics2020

Ten years ago, the accident at Columbia gave the final blow to the shuttles

The crash of the Space Shuttle Columbia ten years ago on February 1, 2003, which claimed the lives of the seven astronauts on board, killed the shuttle flights and overhauled the US space program.

NASA boss Charles Bolden and several other senior officials will participate in a tribute ceremony Friday at Arlington Military Cemetery in Virginia near Washington.

The space agency will commemorate the seven astronauts from Columbia, the three Apollo 1 astronauts who died in a fire during a ground exercise in January 1967 as well as the seven members of the Challenger crew.

Challenger exploded on January 28, 1986, 73 seconds after takeoff from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Columbia, the first shuttle to fly into space in April 1981, disintegrated on its return to the atmosphere. The thermal protection of one of its wings had been damaged by the impact of a piece of insulating foam detached from the external tank shortly after takeoff two weeks before.

After this accident, the Bush administration decided to end the program but to let the three remaining shuttles fly until 2011, the time to complete the International Space Station (ISS) to honor the commitments of the United States vis -to its partners, explained to AFP John Logsdon, the former director of the “Space Policy Institute” at George Washington University.

He was also a member of the National Accident Investigation Bureau.

The end of the shuttles was almost earlier, recalls John Logsdon. In July 2005, during the first flight of an orbiter since the accident, the same problem which had been fatal at Columbia reoccurred but without the piece of insulating foam detached from the outer tank piercing the thermal protection.

NASA then nailed the orbiters to the ground for nearly a year and the Bush administration was on the verge of stopping everything, according to John Logsdon. The president finally gave in to pressure from international partners to complete the ISS.

Fundamental error

“Very soon after the first shuttle flights in the 1980s, we quickly realized that it would not keep its promises of easy and cheap access to space”, notes this expert, adding that no advanced replacement projects then did not materialize.

“I think – as the accident investigation committee said – that the non-replacement of the shuttle was a failure of political leaders” which confined the United States in low orbit for thirty years, insists John Logsdon.

But “the fundamental mistake was made in 1971 and 1972 when it was decided to develop a spacecraft combining crew and cargo transport,” he continues.

“Having separate spaceships for astronauts and cargo is a better approach which is also less expensive,” he insists noting that in the Orion capsule, currently in development for manned flights to an asteroid and Mars, there is a back-up system allowing it to be detached from the launcher in the event of a launching problem. The shuttle did not have such a mechanism.

The last shuttle flew in July 2011 after completing the ISS leaving the United States to depend on Russian Soyuz to transport their astronauts to the Station at a cost of $ 60 million per seat while it was time to develop American alternatives.

In 2010, President Barack Obama set up a program to encourage the private sector to develop systems for transporting freight and then astronauts to the ISS.

SpaceX, one of the selected firms, has already taken up the challenge of successfully completing the first two flights of its unmanned Dragon capsule to transport cargo to the Station and return to Earth.