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 Atlantic2 min read
The Hospital Is Too Damn Loud
When the musician Yoko Sen was hospitalized a few years ago, she could not help but hear the hospital’s many alarms as a musician. Consider a cardiac monitor that beeps in C, she says, along with a bed-fall alarm that emits a high-pitched whine. Toge
The Atlantic4 min readPolitics
The Shaky Underpinnings of Trumpian Diplomacy
When he ran for president, Donald Trump said he wasn’t going to telegraph his moves to America’s adversaries. He’s been doing just that. He said he wouldn’t draw “red lines” and then ignore them. That’s happening, too. He vowed the United States on h
The Atlantic5 min read
The Real Meaning of Trump’s ‘She’s Not My Type’ Defense
The president, in attempting to downplay E. Jean Carroll’s rape allegation against him, isn’t talking about attraction. He’s talking about protection.