Finished Business

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NASHVILLE, Tennessee: Talk about a backed-up legislative calendar. More than 127 years after it became law, Tennessee finally got around to ratifying the 15th Amendment, which gave blacks the right to vote in 1870. Introduced by the Tennessee General Assembly's 16-member black caucus, the state's House and Senate unanimously passed the ratification resolution this week, making the state the last to do so. Kentucky ratified the 15th Amendment in 1976. Other southern states had been required to ratify the ammendment before rejoining the union. But as the first Confederate state to return after the Civil War, Tennessee was given an exemption -- and savored it for more than a century.