Human Parts
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Why We Must Stop Referring to Enslaved People as ‘Slaves’

How we use language matters

A closeup of a Freedom Trail marker that shows enslaved people guided by stars at night on their way to freedom.
Detail of a Portland Freedom Trail marker, where Elias and Elizabeth Widgery Thomas lived and provided a safe house for fugitive slaves and provided housing for notable abolitionists. Photo: Derek Davis/Portland Press Herald/Getty Images

I have a new pet project, and it appears to be a cause taken up by countless other word enthusiasts. I’m finding Wikipedia articles where people are referred to as “slaves” and editing the entries to refer to them as “enslaved persons” or “victims of enslavement.” In…

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