At the age of 70, a woman learned that, despite lived her entire life believing she was black, she was actually white.
Verda Byrd was adopted by an African-American family when she was two years old and was up ‘immersed in black culture.’
She’d never met her biological parents and didn’t realize she was white until she hunted down her biological siblings decades later.
Verda, 75, has written a new book called Seventy Years of Blackness, in which she describes her upbringing as an African-American youngster in Missouri.
‘I grew up participating in Martin Luther King marches and eating soul food,’ she added, adding that she was taken to a black hairdresser as a child.
‘Why wouldn’t my life be entirely entrenched in black culture?’ ‘I was black for all intents and purposes.’
In 2015, she went public with her experience, saying, “I was never told that I was white.”
In 2014, Verda was reunited with her family and met up with Debbie Romero, her white biological sister, in Dallas, Texas.
‘It wasn’t the color of Verda that stunned us, but the notion that we have found a lost sister,’ Debbie told People magazine at the time.
She added at the time, ‘She could have been purple as far as I care.’
Verda claimed this week in an interview with KENS5 that learning she was white’really doesn’t matter to me since I’m not changing.’
Daisy and Earl Beagle, Verda’s birth parents, are mentioned in Missouri court documents as a white couple who had five children in the 1940s.
Verda’s mother was injured in a catastrophic accident after falling nine metres from a tressle when Verda was just five months old, and Mr Beagle apparently abandoned the family in 1943.
Ms Beagle’s five children were taken into care and were returned after their mother recovered from her injuries, but Verda was never found.
‘At this point in my life, yes, I’ve heard information, and I’ve been told Daisy wasn’t always the most upright mother,’ Verda admitted.
‘It’s possible that when moms are desperate to provide for their children, they will do things that are not appropriate.’
Despite growing up in an African-American family in the United States at a time of segregation, she claims she was never subjected to racial discrimination.
Verda didn’t learn her birth name until 2013, when she discovered adoption documents after her adoptive parents had passed away.
She began her hunt for her biological family and learned that the ethnicity she had assumed was incorrect.
‘It claimed I was white on every single page,’ she said in 2015.
‘It was surreal – it was overwhelming.’ Growing up, I had never questioned it, and my parents had never told me.
‘They took the fact that I was white all the way to the grave, and I had no idea.’ ‘I mistook myself for a black person.’