Mississippi was the last state to ratify the 13th Amendment, which bans slavery in the United States — and its legislature only voted to do so in 1995, 130 years after it was originally ratified. It also failed to officially inform the Office of the Federal Register that it had voted to ratify the amendment until 2013, meaning that the it wasn't formally in force until then. The state was one of three to ratify the amendment in the 20th century, with the others being Kentucky and Delaware, which ratified it in 1976 and 1901, respectively.
More facts about the abolition of slavery:
- When the 13th Amendment was first proposed in 1865, 27 states accepted it, and four rejected it: Mississippi, Kentucky, Delaware and New Jersey. The other states that did not ratify it either had not been created yet or ratified it within two years.
- Many people mistakenly believe that the Emancipation Proclamation abolished slavery in the U.S., but in fact, it abolished slavery only in the Confederate states. Many slaved continued to be held in Northern and Western states until the end of the Civil War.
- Several people have tried to use the 13th Amendment to get out of doing school-mandated community service. In Steirer v. Bethlehem School District, Herndon v. Chapel Hill and Immediato v. Rye Neck School District, courts ruled that community service could not be construed as slavery, so the plaintiffs could not get out of it by claiming that it violated the 13th Amendment.