Listen Live
Morning Hustle 2024 Cash Grab Graphics (Jan '24)
The Morning Hustle Featured Video
Vintage public school history books

Source: The Washington Post / Getty

A white woman in Texas visited an ex-plantation and was apparently surprised and horrified that the exhibits there were far more focused on enslaved people than they were on the white family that once owned the plantation and its workforce. Since this happened in Texas, the state that is only rivaled by Florida in its reputation for banning non-whitewashed Black history, one can easily guess what happened next.

A KK-Karen complained and a bunch of books on slavery were removed.

Meet Michelle Haas.

Haas is a graphic designer from Corpus Christi who the Texas Monthly described as an “amateur historian,” meaning she has no academic background in history. She does, however, have the only credentials needed to be the arbiter of historical fact in right-wing America: white fragility and an organization full of the equally white and fragile.

Last year, Haas launched the Texas History Trust, a nonprofit conservative advocacy organization that opposes what it describes as “historical societies, university history departments and authors who warp Texas history based on feelings, not the historical record.” But, according to the group, the historical record isn’t actually the historical record. The claims to “represent the voices of Texans who see the historical record being revised, not on the basis of evidence and primary documents, but in the name of ‘diversity, equity and inclusion’ and other emotional appeals.” So, basically, it appears to be a group of white people who feel history isn’t being taught by and exclusively for white people enough anymore.

Anyway, last year, Haas visited the Varner-Hogg plantation, which is about an hour south of Houston. There, Haas unexpectedly had her delicate Caucasian sensibilities brutally assaulted by a video that taught about the history of slavery at the*checks notes*—slave plantation. Also, there were books by authors she didn’t like.

From the Texas Monthly:

At an exhibit that detailsthe farm’s use as a sugar plantation worked by at least 66 slaves in the early nineteenth century, she’d watched an informational video. To her mind, it focused too much on slavery at the site and not enough on the Hogg family, which had turned its former home into a museum celebrating Texas history. She’d also seen books in the visitor center gift shop written by Carol Anderson and Ibram X. Kendi, two Black academic historians who have been outspoken on the issue of systemic racism. Outraged,she emailed David Gravelle, a board member of the Texas Historical Commission, the agency that oversees historical sites at the direction of leaders appointed by Governor Greg Abbott. “What a s—show is this video,” Haas wrote on September 2, 2022. “Add to that the fact that the activist staff member doing the buying for the gift shop thinks Ibram X. Kendi and White Rage have a place at a historic site.”

Over the next eight months, Haas continued to email Gravelle, advocating for such books to be removed. In turn, Gravelle, a marketing executive based in Dallas, took up the cause internally at the Historical Commission, calling on agency staff to do away with the titles Haas didn’t think belonged at the gift shops. By November of this year, it appeared Haas’s demands were met. The Texas Historical Commission no longer sells White Rage by Anderson or Stamped From the Beginning by Kendi, or 23 other works to which Haas later objected, at two former slave plantations in Brazoria County, including Varner-Hogg. Among the literature no longer available for purchase is an autobiography of a slave girl, a book of Texas slave narratives, the celebrated novel Roots by Alex Haley, and the National Book Award–winning Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison.

Imagine being such an incorrigible racist and obnoxious Karen that you sent eight months worth of email requests to speak to the managers at former plantations because too much Blackness was being prioritized over the romanticizing of white slave owners in lessons on slavery. It should surprise no one that Haas is somewhat of an “author” herself having written a book called 200 Years a Fraud, which purported to correct historical inaccuracies in Solomon Northup’s 1853 memoir Twelve Years a Slave. In other words: A white woman born in the 20th century thinks she knows more than the abolitionist and son of a freed slave born nearly 60 years before the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Apparently, Haas is trying to carve out her own place in history as the person who took whitesplaining to a whole new level.

In her book, Haas wrote that slavery was “a socially acceptable and economically worthwhile practice worldwide at the time our thirteen colonies arose.” This is what happens when history is told through the lens of whiteness: “amateur historians” decide it was OK for Black people to live and die as the physical property of white people, have their future generations born into life-long servitude, have their heritage stripped away from them, be torn away from their families, and be brutalized, tortured, raped and lynched throughout their lives—all for the “economically worthwhile” good of America.

But, again, it’s no surprise Haas got her way in Texas, the state that beat out all of the other 49 states in banning the most books last year. Texasthe state that passed an anti-critical race theory law that dropped requirements for teachers to give lessons on the KKK, the teachings of Martin Luther King or any curricula that might make (white) students uncomfortable. This is also the state where “educators” want to describe slavery as the “involuntary relocation” of African people—but don’t hold your breath waiting for Haas’ organization to fight that type of mangling of the historical record.

Anyway, since the news broke that another white nationalist got books banned in Texas by weaponizing white fragility, the fine folks on X have overwhelmingly responded in condemnation of Haas and all others who bleed white supremacy all over the pages of Black history.

There really does need to be a powerful and massive movement to keep white supremacists out of education. Unfortunately, that movement isn’t likely to begin in Texas.


Dr. Roni Dean-Burren, Texas Mom Who Called Out Textbook For Lying About Slavery, Dies At 46

Op-Ed: In Florida, Slavery Is The Glorious Gift That Kept On Giving

The post Slavery Books Removed From Ex-Plantation In Texas After White ‘Amateur Historian’ Michelle Haas Complained appeared first on NewsOne.

Slavery Books Removed From Ex-Plantation In Texas After White ‘Amateur Historian’ Michelle Haas Complained  was originally published on

Leave a Reply