Thursday, May 16, 2019

The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington, by Phenderson Djèlí Clark

Fireside Quarterly, February 2018

George Washington, hero of the Revolution, our first President and one of our greatest, a major reason we became a democratic republic rather than a monarchy because he refused to become king, was also a slaveowner.

Like many of his time, he lost teeth over the course of his adult life, and being a wealthy man, he was able to have dentures. The replacement teeth in those dentures were not, as I was taught as a child, wooden teeth, but real human teeth from the mouths of slaves.

This is a story of the lives of the slaves whose teeth those were--in an alternate history where magic, including sorcerers, witches, and demons are real.

The teeth affect Washington in real and unexpected ways.

This is a thoughtful, interesting, moving story, well worth your time to read. It is a 2019 Hugo Finalist for Best Short Story, and I received it as part of the Hugo Voters' Packet.

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