We are shocked at the revelation that Eudocia Tomas Pulido was a slave. We'll have more to say soon. Her 2011 obit: https://t.co/1GQXzdfzpT pic.twitter.com/wvrXfRd1FW
— The Seattle Times (@seattletimes) May 17, 2017
Not long after The Atlantic published the late Alex Tizon's personal essay about his family's multi-generational slave, a 2011 Times obituary for Eudocia Tomas Pulido resurfaced. The obituary, written by reporter Susan Kelleher, presents a starkly different narrative of Pulido's life than the one told by Tizon in his cover story.
The Atlantic article recounts how Pulido suffered generations of cruelty living with and working for Tizon's family without pay. When the family immigrated from the Philippines to the United States, they promised Pulido an "allowance" so she could support her own family. That money never materialized. Tizon, a Pulitzer Prize winner, spends much of the piece grappling with his own complicity in Pulido's life of enslavement.
The Times' obituary, using Tizon as the primary source, conveniently leaves out the horrible aspects of Pulido's life, portraying her as a devoted mother figure who "asked for nothing in return" for her labor.
Today, Kelleher, also a Pulitzer Prize winner, revisits that obituary. She writes that Tizon first submitted his own version, but an editor passed that draft onto Kelleher as an assignment. What ultimately made it onto the page came from a 90 minute interview with Tizon, who told a completely "whitewashed" version of Pulido's life. Kelleher writes:
Obituaries depend on the fundamental honesty of the people who survive to tell the story. Tizon lied to me, and through me, to our readers, depriving Ms. Pulido of the truth of her life, and the rest of us an important piece of our history. And for that I am truly sorry.