Textbook replaces 'slaves' with 'workers' when referring to The Atlantic Slave Trade

- Roni Dean-Burren, a mother of a 15-year-old student, wasn't expecting to get a text from her son last week that would spark a social media whirlwind. Her son Coby sent her this photo from his ninth-grade McGraw-Hill World Geography textbook.

The  U.S. map reads “The Atlantic Slave Trade between the 1500s and 1800s brought millions of workers from Africa to the southern United States to work on agricultural plantations” in a section titled “Patterns of Immigration."

Dean-Burren, a doctoral candidate in the University of Houston Language Arts program, was an English teacher for 11 years in Pearland. She took her concerns to social media voicing her thoughts on the issue.

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

The publishing company released a statement saying "a close review of the content revealed that 'our language in that caption did not adequately convey that Africans were both forced into migration and to labor against their will as slaves.'”

“We believe we can do better,” it continues. “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.” The changes will be made in the textbook’s digital version and included in its next run but Dean-Burren said she called on McGraw-Hill to rise to its standard by seeking to have supplement sent out and have the current book recalled.

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