Out in the Open

After 70 years living as a black woman, Verda Byrd discovered she was white

Verda Byrd shares her experience growing up transracical
After 70 years living as a black woman, Verda Byrd discovered she was white.

For almost all her life, Verda Byrd has lived as a black women. She was raised by black parents, married a black man, attended black churches, and even frequented black hair salons.

But two years ago, she learned from her adoption papers that she was actually white

Verda was legally born Jeanette Beagle, daughter to a poor white woman named Daisy Beagle, who struggled to raise several kids in the 1940's. 

She was put into a children's home after her biological mother was injured in an accident. A few years later, Jeanette was adopted by a black couple  — and she became Verda. 

Although her adopted parents told Verda she wasn't biologically theirs, they never told her that she was white. The discovery prompted Verda to reunite with her biological sisters. Through the reconnection, she learned that her perspective of race was far different from theirs. 

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