Mississippi State capital Building Jackson MS
Yesterday, The State of Mississippi officially ratified the 13th Amendment, which outlawed slavery … nearly 150 years after most of the states in the union did.
The gross delay, fixed earlier this month, was the result of a clerical error that left unrecorded what many state officials thought was its official ratification nearly 20 years ago.
The Mississippi Legislature had actually formally ratified the historic amendment in 1995, which even then was more than a century late, but because the ratification document was never presented to the U.S. archivist, it was never considered official.
According to The Clarion-Ledger, the bizarre error was discovered by a pair of patriotic Mississippians, who, after seeing the movie “Lincoln,” looked up historical accounts of Mississippi’s action and brought to the attention of state officials that they had never, in fact, ratified one of the most important documents in modern history.
The 13th Amendment, which outlawed all slavery and involuntary servitude except as punishment for a crime, was passed by the U.S. Senate on April 8, 1864, and by the House of Representatives on Jan. 31, 1865.
Throughout 1865, 26 states ratified the critical law, and in December of that year, the amendment was formally adopted into U.S. law after Georgia’s approval brought the number the required 27.
Several states, including Kentucky and Delaware, waited decades to ratify the amendment, the last being Mississippi in 1995 — or so the state thought.
The convoluted tale resumed last fall, when Dr. Ranjan Batra, a neurobiology professor at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, saw the movie “Lincoln,” which focuses on the passage of the 13th Amendment and conducted the research into the matter.