As language and cultural awareness evolve, the editorial policies at the EOA evolve, too, and we are looking at how the language and naming conventions we employ align with current thinking in the publishing world.
A particular change we are committed to moving forward is capitalizing Black. Since the beginning, we have followed the Chicago Manual of Style for our editorial guidance, and the Manual said this in a June 2020 statement: “Specifically, we now prefer to write Black with a capital B when it refers to racial and ethnic identity.” The EOA also will move toward more “person-centered” language when possible, e.g., enslaved person, person with disabilities.
While we will use these updated style conventions in our language going forward, we must note that it is not feasible to go back to all of our more than 6,000 existing entries and make these changes. We simply do not have the staff time or resources to do that. But we will use these updated style choices as new entries are published on the site and take the time to update existing entries as we can.