Woman astonished to find out she's white at the age of 70

Her adoptive parents took the secret to their graves

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The Independent US

Texan Verda Byrd lived her whole life believing she was black, only to find out aged 70 that her birth parents were both white.

She was born Jeanette Beagle in Converse in 1942, one of 10 children, but removed from home early in her life after her father walked out on the family and her mother was badly injured in a fall.

She was then adopted by Ray and Edwinna Wagner, a black family in Newton who raised her as their only child.

Going onto marry and have a daughter, it wasn't until she was 70 that Mrs Byrd decided to try and learn the identity of her parents, leading her adoptive mother to reveal on her death bed that both her birth parents were white.

"She took it to her grave that she had a white daughter," Mrs Byrd told KENS 5 TV.

"It was unbelievable."

Her identity is now so firmly ingrained in her however that Mrs Byrd doesn't feel hugely altered by the revelation.

"I'm comfortable with being a black woman," she told The Register.

"I grew up not questioning birth or anything else because it was never told to me that I was born white."

The news inevitably has drawn comparisons with the scandal surrounding NAACP official Rachel Dolezal, who was recently outed as pretending to be black.

Unsurprisingly, Mrs Byrd is unhappy with such comparisons.

"She lied about her race," she added. "I didn't lie because I didn't know."