High school textbook to change passage on slavery after mother's Facebook post goes viral

 

Many of you asked about my son's textbook. Here it is. Erasure is real y'all!!! Teach your children the truth!!!#blacklivesmatter

Posted by Roni Dean-Burren on Thursday, October 1, 2015

HOUSTON, TX - A textbook company is making some major changes to one of their Geography textbooks after a mother voiced her concern online.

Roni Dean-Burren’s 15-year-old son sent her a photo of his ninth grade Geography textbook which refers to Africans brought to America in the 1500s and 1800s as ‘workers’ and ‘immigrants.’

According to Buzzfeed News, the passage comes from the Word Geography textbook by McGraw-Hill Education.

The passage Dean-Burren found disturbing comes from a section of the book titled “Patterns of Immigration.”

The text reads, “The Atlantic slave trade between the 1500s and the 1800s brought millions of workers from Africa to the southern United States to work on agricultural plantations.”

Dean-Burren said she felt it was insulting that there was little to no mention of Africans as slaves.

She sites another section of the book that refers to European people that came to America as “indentured servants” that were given ”little to no pay.”

“So they say that about English and European people,” she said. “But there is no mention of Africans working as slaves or being slaves. It just says we were workers.”

Dean-Burren’s viral Facebook video has received over a million views and many have responded to her comments, including McGraw-Hill.  

In a statement released on Facebook the company said that they agree with Dean-Burren’s commentary, and that they plan on changing the text. 

"This week, we became aware of a concern regarding a caption reference to slavery on a map in one of our world geography programs. This program addresses slavery in the world in several lessons and meets the learning objectives of the course. However, we conducted a close review of the content and agree that our language in that caption did not adequately convey that Africans were both forced into migration and to labor against their will as slaves.

We believe we can do better. To communicate these facts more clearly, we will update this caption to describe the arrival of African slaves in the U.S. as a forced migration and emphasize that their work was done as slave labor. These changes will be reflected in the digital version of the program immediately and will be included in the program’s next print run.

McGraw-Hill Education is committed to developing the highest quality educational materials and upholding the academic integrity of our products. We value the insight the public brings to discussions of our content."

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