The Atlantic

The Enslaved Woman They Called Lola

Enslavement is a process, not an identity. The use of the word “slave” obscures that fact.
Source: The Atlantic

Eudocia Tomas Pulido’s 2011 obituary in the Seattle Times is now a curious artifact of the cruelest irony. Six years before Alex Tizon wrote about Pulido in The Atlantic as “a slave in my family’s household,” he urged the Times, where he had previously worked, to write a tribute to her life. The task fell to Susan Kelleher, who based the obituary on Tizon’s recollection and saw in his account “remarkable aspects to her life that I thought would be worth sharing.” That account, which painted Pulido as a free woman, was of course a lie. But the foundation of the most beautiful of lies is often the ugliest of truths.

“A devotion so rare that even those closest to her still struggle to comprehend it” is how Tizon described the woman he called “Lola” in that obituary. That struggle for comprehension did not end with Pulido’s death. Rather, it

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic6 min read
The Unraveling of Donald Trump
As the impeachment inquiry intensifies, some associates of the president predict that his already erratic behavior is going to get worse.
The Atlantic6 min read
Democrats Are Hypocrites for Condemning Trump Over Syria
Presidential hopefuls blasted Trump for abandoning the Kurds—but want the U.S. to pull out of Afghanistan under similar conditions.
The Atlantic8 min read
What Ballooning Carbon Emissions Will Do to Trees
Many forecasts for climate change assume that tropical forests will continue to soak up carbon dioxide as the world warms. What if they don’t?