Black History:  Special Delivery!!


Texas mother Roni Dean-Burren, is taking McGraw-Hill Publishers to task after her son informs her that his textbook refers to slaves as “workers” .  It is also interesting to note that that the chapter in which this information is placed is called, “Patterns of Immigration”. Now there is an extensive review process that takes place before a textbook is published.  It is both disturbing and frightening to think that a textbook could successfully be reviewed and published with such a glaring omission and misrepresentation.

We definitely have to be vigilant about what our children are being taught. The publisher’s choice of language and failure to identify slavery for what it really was is unacceptable.  We salute this mom for her efforts to bring this issue to light.  Now make, no mistake, educating our children, is not solely the responsibility of a school system or textbook publisher.  As parents, it is our responsibility to make sure our children know their history.  However, it is important that when these issues are brought to light within our educational systems that we challenge them on the harm that these types of misrepresentation can cause.  Did they think that no one would notice or care? 

In this excerpt, slaves are referred to as plantation

In this excerpt, slaves are referred to as plantation “workers” with no mention that they were “slaves”.

In response to this mother’s advocacy, McGraw-Hill has agreed to update the textbook to reference the enslavement of African people and their “forced” migration and labor:

“We (McGraw Hill) 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.”

I personally think McGraw-Hill should send an update to all schools who purchased the textbook.  It could take years before a new textbook would be needed.  Therefore, this false misrepresentation will continue to be in circulation.  Really, the school system should return all of their textbooks and demand that they be replaced.  I’m going to be reviewing my children’s text books!  I encourage you to do the same.  To check out the full article and view the video that shows pictures and language from the textbook, click on the link below: