The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington – Phenderson Djéli Clark

Fireside Magazine Issue 52, February 2018

Spoilers Ahead!

The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington is a 2019 Hugo Awards finalist in the Best Short Story category.

“By Cash pd Negroes for 9 Teeth on Acct of Dr. Lemoire”

– Lund Washington, Mount Vernon plantation, Account Book dated 1784.

George Washington, slavery and magic collide in this alternate history. While I will never understand the mentality that makes people think slavery is ever an option I enjoyed reading about the strength and character of the nine slaves included in this story. I particularly loved anticipating the impact each particular tooth would have on George.

For the blacksmith understood what masters had chosen to forget: when you make a man or woman a slave you enslave yourself in turn.

You can read this short story online here. I’ll definitely be rereading this story.

Content warnings include suicide attempts.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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