Textbooks called African slaves 'workers'

Posted at 6:06 AM, Oct 05, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-05 06:06:02-04

McGraw-Hill has promised to change their textbooks after a Texas mom found a passage that referred to slaves as 'workers.'

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

The passage comes from the World Geography textbook by McGraw-Hill Education, in a section called “Patterns of Immigration," according to BuzzFeed News

It 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.”


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

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...

Posted by McGraw-Hill Education on Friday, October 2, 2015