Texas-resident Verda Byrd thought she was a black woman for the majority of her life, but in 2012 — at age 70 — she found out that simply was not true.
Byrd — born Jeanette Beagle to white parents — was adopted by Ray and Edwinna Wagner, an affluent black family, shortly after a series of unfortunate events left her a ward of the state. From an early age, Byrd knew she had been adopted, but her mother never said, “that she had adopted a white baby. She took it to her grave that she had a white daughter.”
Though she now knows that biologically she is white, Byrd “grew up living the black experience” and is enraged by Rachel Dolezal’s on-going attempt to defy reality and appropriate an identity she doesn’t deserve:
I wouldn’t go back to my birth name if I had to. Jeanette Beagle does not fit Verda Byrd. Jeanette Beagle does not have an education. Jeanette Beagle does not have social security money because she never worked. She never even went to kindergarten. [Dolezal] lied. She lied about her race. I didn’t lie because I didn’t know.