Mississippi Makes Its Ratification of 13th Amendment Official

JACKSON, Miss. — The state of Mississippi has corrected a clerical error that left unrecorded ratification of the 13th Amendment for 18 years.

The Legislature formally ratified the amendment, which outlawed slavery, in 1995. However, the ratification document was never presented to the U.S. Archivist, so it was never official.

According to The Clarion-Ledger, Ranjan Batra, an associate professor of neurobiology and anatomical sciences at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, was among those who learned about the oversight after seeing the movie “Lincoln.” He told Ken Sullivan, an anatomical material specialist for the medical center’s body donation program, who contacted the National Archives’ Office of the Federal Register and confirmed Mississippi had not submitted the required paperwork.

Sullivan found a copy of the 1995 resolution, which stated the secretary of state was to send a copy to the Office of the Federal Register.

On Jan. 30, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann sent in a copy of the 1995 Senate resolution, adopted by both the Mississippi Senate and House. On Feb. 7, Charles A. Barth, director of the Federal Register, wrote back that he had received the resolution and recorded the state’s action.