'Black' Woman Sorting Through Old Papers Discovers She's Really White

72-year-old Verda Byrd recently made the shocking discovery that's she's white. She's spent her entire life as a black woman, so you can imagine that finding out that she's actually Caucasian has thrown her for a loop.

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She didn't exactly pull a Rachel Dolezal, as she had no clue that she wasn't African-American. In fact, she had some words for the former NAACP president in Spokane, Washington.

"I respect her for wanting equal treatment, but the fact is, she outright lied," she said (while making judge-y eyes, I hope). "That's what is so upsetting to me. She knew she was white and tried to be something she wasn't. Whereas in my case, the fact is, I simply did not know. And really, now that I know the truth, does it really matter?"

In 1942, she was the youngest of 10 children born to her white biological parents, Earl and Daisy Beagle. By the time she was 2 years old, her dad had abandoned the family, and her mom couldn't care for her after a severe injury in a trolley accident.

She was put into foster care, and her black foster parents, Ray and Edwina, eventually adopted her. Verda said they got around the racist adoption laws of the time because of her mother's fair complexion. "They assumed she was white," she said.

Verda reflected on her upbringing, "My mother took me to a black hairdresser, and I grew up participating in Martin Luther King marches and eating soul food ... My life was completely immersed in black culture, and why wouldn't it be? For all intents and purposes, I was black."

It wasn't until 2013 that she found an adoption document while sorting through some papers. Her parents were long gone, but she was still curious about her adoption, so she made some inquiries with Kansas City adoption court officials.

Her adoption records had been unsealed upon her parents' deaths, and she couldn't believe what she found. "On every single paper," she said, "it said that I was white."

"It was overwhelming -- unbelievable," she reflected. The retired substitute teacher has been married twice, both times to black men, and she has a daughter. "I had never questioned it growing up, and my parents had never told me. They took that I was white to the grave, and I simply had no clue. I thought I was black."

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She also discovered that she still has three surviving biological sisters, whom she met last year.

"Not only do we learn we have a sister, we learn that she has grown up black," said Debbie Romero, 58. "But it certainly didn't bother us. It's not the color of Verda that shocked us, but the fact that we have found a lost sister."

"She could have been purple as far as I care," Romero said. "It's just so fun to have her now in my life."

Verda seems to have a great attitude about it, even joking that her hubby of 36 years, Trancle Byrd, "went to bed one night with a black woman and woke up the next morning with a white one."

She said, "I still feel black and that's not going to change ... When you're dead and gone in the cemetery, the tombstone doesn't say what race you were ... It doesn't matter. In the end, you have to take the bitter with the sweet and be comfortable with who you are."

What an amazing story! I can't imagine finding out something like that after a lifetime, and I'm with Verda on the whole Rachel Dolezal thing. She didn't lie about her ethnicity -- she just simply had no way of knowing.

What would you do if you found out that you weren't biologically part of the culture you were raised in?

 

Image via Verda Byrd/Facebook

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