Verda Byrd grew up in Newton, Kansas just like many other Black girls around the country. The daughter of Edwinna and Ray Wagner, a railroad porter, she lived a comfortable life with loving parents.
Eventually, Verda learned that Ray and Edwinna weren’t her biological parents. She was adopted in the 1940s. Still, she never doubted her status as a Black woman.
“I grew up not questioning birth or anything else because it was never told to me that I was born white.”
It wasn’t until her 70th year that Byrd discovered, through her own research, that her biological parents were White. Byrd learned that her birth name name was Jeanette Beagle and her parents, Earl and Daisy Beagle were transients, White transients.
The mere mention of Dolezal’s name sets Verda Byrd off like a stick of dynamite.
“She lied about her race,” Byrd said. “I didn’t lie because I didn’t know.”
Dolezal’s publicized choice to identify herself as black has been under scrutiny. The former NAACP president in Spokane, Wash., is accused of deceiving the public by insisting she was not only of black descent but black herself.
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The thing about Rachael that is so perplexing to me is that if her real parents had not introduced themselves, I never would have believed she was a white woman. From that spot on straw-set/curly fro/braid-out, to the expert use of cafe au lait foundation, to the shape and size of her nose, to her mannerisms and her speech patterns, I never would have imagined that was a white woman.
What do you think about Vera and what she had to say to Rachel?