McGraw-Hill to rewrite textbook passage identifying slaves as 'workers'
A mother and son in Houston joined forces to raise awareness about some highly questionable wording in a 9th grade textbook. Their efforts have brought about change.
Publisher McGraw-Hill will be rewriting the section in question, which 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."
Roni Dean-Burren's son sent her an image of the passage and she then posted the picture to Instagram. She also commented, "... notice the nuanced language there. Workers implies wages ... yes?"
That post and a subsequent video made by Dean-Burren featuring the book in which the matter was glossed over quickly went viral.
McGraw-Hill has since conceded that their description of the practice is understated, and the company will be making changes. Those will be reflected in the online version immediately, and printed books will be updated in their next run.
In a statement, the publisher said, "...we conducted a close review of the content and agree 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."
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