Texas mom calls out textbook publisher

A mom in Texas put publisher McGraw-Hill on blast for stating in the updated history book that Africans came to the United States as workers.  Yes workers. According to McGraw-Hill Africans immigrated to the United States to work on the plantations. So apparently Africans jumped on these ships gleefully looking at the United States as the promised land back in the day.

Check out the the video below by Roni Dean-Burren.

It’s a good thing she caught this. I remember reading about how the folks in Texas wanted to make changes to the school history books and the Republican controlled Texas State Board of Education approved the changes.

Five million public school students in Texas will begin using new social studies textbooks this fall based on state academic standards that barely address racial segregation. The state’s guidelines for teaching American history also do not mention the Ku Klux Klan or Jim Crow laws.

And when it comes to the Civil War, children are supposed to learn that the conflict was caused by “sectionalism, states’ rights and slavery” — written deliberately in that order to telegraph slavery’s secondary role in driving the conflict, according to some members of the state board of education.

Slavery was a “side issue to the Civil War,” said Pat Hardy, a Republican board member, when the board adopted the standards in 2010. “There would be those who would say the reason for the Civil War was over slavery. No. It was over states’ rights.”

Looks like Texas wants to soften the slavery issue.  If the true history of how blacks have been treated in the United States isn’t mentioned in the school textbooks it’s up to parents to start teaching their children themselves.

According to the Washington Post:

Students in Texas are required to read the speech Jefferson Davis gave when he was inaugurated president of the Confederate States of America, an address that does not mention slavery. But students are not required to read a famous speech by Alexander Stephens, Davis’s vice president, in which he explained that the South’s desire to preserve slavery was the cornerstone of its new government and “the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution.”

McGraw-Hill took notice of Ms. Dean-Burren’s video and they have responded:

“We believe we can do better,” the publisher wrote in a Facebook post. “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. These changes will be reflected in the digital version of the program immediately and will be included in the program’s next print run.”

And when will the next print run happen? Five years from now? The Texas Board of Education should be ashamed of themselves for approving the whitewashed textbooks. The history of this country isn’t all sunshine and roses and they need to accept that fact. Black folks didn’t immigrate here back in the 1600’s, 1700’s and 1800’s. The KKK and Jim Crow laws did exist in this country.

If you’re looking for an excellent book on the history of African Americans check out From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans by John Hope Franklin.  This book isn’t cheap but it’s worth it.  And it should be required reading for all high school students.  For a photographic look at the history of African Americans check out Black America: A Photographic Journey Past to Present by Marcia A. Smith.

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