Textbook Refers to Slaves as 'Workers' & 'Immigrants' Until One Mom Changes Everything

A mom in Texas was recently very dismayed after her son showed her one of his high school textbooks. The 15-year-old's geography lesson included a caption that referred to African slaves as "workers" who immigrated to America.


Yes, because they were given such a choice when they were sold in Africa, forced to endure terrible ship conditions (during which many of them died), and then sold again in America, often to cruel men who abused them. Even in the best of cases, they were forced to work for long hours for room and board, and live every day in fear that they might be sold to someone else, or have their families split, or any number of travesties they had to endure. Let's call those people "workers."

Anyway, the passage bothered Roni Dean-Burren's ninth-grader, so he brought it to her attention. She was so upset about the misrepresentation of the Atlantic Slave Trade that she took to social media to share her concern.

The caption is featured in World Geography, from McGraw-Hill Education, and is part of the section labeled "Patterns of Immigration," and 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.

This awesome mom dealt with the major faux pas by posting a video to Facebook stating exactly why she saw it as a problem to call slaves "immigrants" or "workers."

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, 1 October 2015

The video was viewed over 1.5 million times and got the attention of McGraw-Hill Education, who promised to change the digital version of the book immediately and include the changes in the next print run. In a statement, they agreed, "Our language in that caption did not adequately convey that Africans were both forced into migration and to labor against their will as slaves."

More from The Stir: Slavery + Math Homework Add Up to a Dumb Lesson for Georgia Kids

I'm so glad to hear that they're fixing this atrocious revision of history. Calling slavery anything other than what it was doesn't erase it from our history. Yes, it sucks that it happened, but our kids need to learn about it, and why it was so wrong, and all the major things it led to for us as a country. I don't know, ever hear of a little something called the Civil War?

Those who don't study history are doomed to repeat it ... and I'm glad there was an outcry that the history of the Atlantic Slave Trade was rewritten. Our kids deserve to be taught the truth -- especially about something as awful as slavery.


Image via Roni Dean-Burren/Facebook

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