Texas mother takes on McGraw-Hill textbook calling slaves ‘immigrants’

“‘Immigrants, ‘ yeah, that word matters”, Dean-Burren said, “(Reading from the text) “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’s son Coby, a ninth-grader at Pearland High School south of Houston, originally brought the textbook’s language to her attention. “This is revisionist history-retelling the story however the winners would like it told….I know they can do better”, she said, of McGraw Hill’s apology.

Roni Dean-Burren took to Facebook last week to vent her frustration over the wording of a passage in her son’s “World Geography” textbook that calls African slaves “workers” and “immigrants”. It has since garnered more than 1.7 million views. Dean-Burren’s Facebook post points to wider criticism of the textbook industry, however, which is mostly based in Texas.

Erasure is real y’all!!!

The changes will be made in the digital version of the program immediately and will be included in the program’s next print run, the publisher said.

“We believe we can do better”, the company said in a Facebook post.

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

She did a few messaging of her own on Facebook, posting a video flipping through the book, detailing what it did and didn’t include.

“It had Africans… Africans – not African-Americans – as the Atlantic slave trade as workers implying pay, as if we had come here willingly and were paid to do our job”, says Cobi Burren.

Publishers frequently customize their books to meet the state’s curriculum, according to Dan Quinn of the Texas Freedom Network, a public education watchdog group.

The criticism from a conservative organization may be particularly noteworthy, since the controversial standards gaining ground in Texas (and popping up in similar debates from Colorado to Virginia) are often pushed by Republican-dominated committees and school boards, particularly when it comes to interpretations of the Civil War. The catch was that the Texas State Board of Education had to approve the textbooks first. Publishers made dozens of changes in response to the input, including dropping content that questions climate change being caused by human activity. If a textbook is “adopted”, it means the book gets a vote of support from the Texas state government.


Dean-Burren called out the education company on YouTube for a caption that referred to enslaved Africans as “workers” and “migrants”.

McGraw-Hill to rewrite text after complaint