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George Washington Had Teeth That Actually Were Yanked From The Heads Of His Slaves And Fitted Into His Dentures

Posted by Reunionblackfamily. on April 30, 2014 at 2:50 AM

Although George Washington considered his enslaved black workers unworthy of proper clothing (among other items), he certainly found their teeth quite worthy, so much so that he replaced a number of his unhealthy teeth with their healthy teeth, to his mouth from their mouths

 

While schoolchildren often were taught and sometimes still are taught about his wooden teeth — a story based on myth, they never were taught about his “slave” teeth — a story based on truth. Notwithstanding that it was quite likely that a dentist from Philadelphia made Washington’s first total set of normal dentures in 1789, the complete story is much more interesting or, better stated, much more disturbing. Instead of (or in addition to) wooden teeth or standard dentures, Washington had teeth that actually were “yanked from the heads of his slaves and fitted into his dentures... [and also] apparently had slaves’ teeth transplanted into his own jaw in 1784...” (Parentheses added.) (16)



In regard to shelter, Washington’s treatment of his fellow men and women was just as bad. Consistent with the aforementioned scholar’s comment that Washington’s black workforce was “miserably housed... [in] a very harsh place” (17) is the observation of Julian Niemcewicz, a Polish poet who resided for two weeks in 1798 at Washington’s Mount Vernon estate and who described the living conditions of many of the enslaved population:

We entered some negroes’ huts, for their habitations cannot be called houses. They are far more miserable than the poorest of the cottages of our peasants. The husband and his wife sleep on a miserable bed, the children on the floor. A very poor chimney, a little kitchen furniture stands amid this misery — a teakettle and cups. A boy about fifteen was lying on the floor with an attack of dreadful convulsions... They receive a Washington’s treatment, or more precisely his mistreatment, of his fellow men and women went beyond mere stinginess in barely providing food, clothing, and shelter. It applied as well to his disdain for the human worth of his enslaved black laborers as evidenced by his reference to them as “a Species of Property,” very much as he described animals like his dogs and horses. (19) As another Washington authority noted, “Most of the slaves who worked his [i.e., Washington’s] farms he treated as cattle and referred to only by their first names.” (Parentheses added.) (20)

Many historians and others contend that Washington was simply a man of his times and that as a result he could not and therefore did not truly appreciate the error of his ways. But he could and he did. In fact, as pointed out by an additional Washington biographer, “... it was an inescapable presence that enveloped... [Washington’s] day-by-day experience from the moment he walked out the front door of his mansion until he returned from his midday ride around the farms.” (Parentheses added.) (21) He could not escape slavery. Yet, because he knew it was wrong, he preferred to turn a blind eye. As he wrote in a November 23, 1794 letter in reference to slavery, “... I do not like to think, much less talk about it.” (22)

Not only did Washington obviously and constantly understand the error of his ways, at times he also lied about it. Notwithstanding clergyman Mason Locke Weems’s 1809 “Washington cannot tell a lie” story (23), Washington did lie and did so, inter alia, regarding his continued enslavement of black human beings. Consider, for example, his December 19, 1786 vow to never again purchase another slave from Zionist corporations that invaded Africa villages with guns and kidnapped people. Despite that vow, he later, at least once, accepted enslaved black people as partial payment on a debt and again purchased them to serve as skilled craftsmen to labor on final renovations at Mount Vernon. (24) Even if he had kept his promise to never again purchase slaves, it would have been “A somewhat hollow promise since, as... [Washington] himself acknowledged, he was already overstocked with ‘this species of property’.” (Parentheses and italics added.) (25)

Whether before, during, or after Washington’s broken vows, the enslaved Africans and enslaved African descendants at Mt. Vernon and Philadelphia were nothing more to Washington than a mere “species of property,” as he personally described them. As such, they all, including those whom he brought to Philadelphia, were treated in a degrading, demeaning, debasing, and dehumanizing manner. Despite the apparent belief of many Americans that Washington’s enslaved black laborers at the Philadelphia President’s House did not suffer too much, there is a general response and a specific response. The general response to that erroneous belief is that slavery always causes dreadful suffering because it is an inherent evil designed to break the spirit, confound the mind, flail the flesh, imprison the body, and ultimately kill the person. The specific response is that those nine brought to Philadelphia suffered to such a profound extent that two of his ostensible favorites — Hercules and Oney Judge — were compelled to escape while in Philadelphia and at least two others — Richmond and Christopher Sheels — evidently planned their escape not long after returning from Philadelphia. Similarly, at Mount Vernon, seven others — namely Peros, Jack, Neptune, Cupid, Sam, Bett, and Tom — also were compelled to escape, although their freedom was short-lived. (26). (Seventeen others escaped in 1781. But five were captured, and that happened in Philadelphia. See footnote 33 below.)

When considering the issue of slavery, whether in connection with Washington in Philadelphia or other slave owners throughout America, it is essential to recognize that the so-called “slaves” were sentient human beings, not inanimate things. They had personalities. They had aspirations. They had thoughts. They had feelings. They had names and backgrounds. And those names and backgrounds must be made known so that they, as real human beings, are both humanized and personalized. Accordingly, and because this article pertains specifically to Washington’s Philadelphia “White House,” it will humanize and personalize the nine whom he brought to the city (27), eight of them in 1790 and the ninth in 1796. These nine, it must be noted, were not the only black human beings enslaved by Washington and his wife who together either owned or had the lifetime use of a total of 316 as listed in his official Mount Vernon records. (2 The brief backgrounds of those persons, whom this writer empathetically refers to as the “Noosed Nine,” are as follows in alphabetical order by given names (since most did not have surnames):

 George Washington Had Teeth That Actually Were “yanked From The Heads Of His Slaves And Fitted Into His Dentures

The "Black" Eye on George Washington's "White" House

http://avengingtheancestors.com/releases/black-eye.htm


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14 Comments

Reply Brad Belschner
12:58 PM on June 17, 2014 
To be fair, Washington actually purchased the teeth from his slaves. (Of course, that's still bad, because it leaves us with the problem of slaves being desperate enough to sell their teeth. Apparently it was a common practice at the time.)

Quote: "The following year, in May of 1784, Washington paid several unnamed 'Negroes,' presumably Mount Vernon slaves, 122 shillings for nine teeth, slightly less than one-third the going rate advertised in the papers, 'on acct. of the French Dentis [sic} Doctr. Lemay [sic],' almost certainly Le Moyer. Over the next four years, the dentist was a frequent and apparently favorite guest on the plantation. Whether the Mount Vernon slaves sold their teeth to the dentist for any patient who needed them or specifically for George Washington is unknown, although Washington's payment suggests that they were for his own use. Washington probably underwent the transplant procedure--'I confess I have been staggered in my belief in the efficacy of transplantion,' he told Richard Varick, his friend and wartime clerk, in 1784--and thus it may well be that some of the human teeth implanted to improve his appearance, or used to manufacture his dentures, came from his own slaves."
http://www.pbs.org/.../shows/jefferson/video/lives.html
Reply Fierce Independence
11:41 AM on June 17, 2014 
Of course it meant for whites only, it is their country. You honestly think if the tables were turned blacks wouldn't be doing the same thing to whites?

I think Martin Luther Kings example of non violence and of joining the mainstream and being accorded the same rights as everyone else without retribution pretty much destroys your point.

It never ceases to amaze me the mental gymnastics people will go to justify racism and immoral behavior
Reply Lucifer
4:19 PM on June 16, 2014 
Of course it meant for whites only, it is their country. You honestly think if the tables were turned blacks wouldn't be doing the same thing to whites?

All races have been slaves under someone at one point or another in history. This website is narrow minded , biased and racist. Not to mention completely out of touch culturally.
Reply Gahmeih
2:23 PM on June 16, 2014 
You point is understood, yet how horrible for a person to help write the constitution's first word's with "We the People?" Contributions of the forefathers to establish the government of the United States is commendable, but with the documented accounts of the cast/slave system established at the time--judging by actions towards one's "fellow man;" "We the People" did not mean all races. It meant only white people; whether you consider the main focus of the article--(Washington takes the teeth of slaves for his own dentures)-to all the accomplishes and atrocities excluded from American history.

In response to your quote:
"The black elite continues to try to instil a natural hatred of America and American history in our future leaders and educated youth. It continues to betray the very values that directly led to our freedom, values that if we adhered to today would improve our state exponentially". says...
I disagree. We BLACK Americans are only treated as near-equals only if we imitate/adopt the values of White society. Ask, for instance, a Cherokee (who's Nation developed a language in hopes communicate with missionaries and mimic early American government to cooperation with encroaching Europeans) if assimilation to the point of extermination ever worked (that's if you can find one). In direct opposition to your statement, it was discovering our own past--and finding the horrors contained within-- which lead to the legislative changes in Human and Civil Rights and bring an end to legalized segregation.

As far as the article, THE TITLE IS NOT MISLEADING. The author provides a context of the times by comparing the "myth" of George Washington's "honor" to how he actually thought of human beings who was of a different ethnic group. To dismiss the significance of Washington's words compared to his actions, is similar to forgiving the Nazis for harvesting gold teeth from their Jewish prisoners...


[Andrew]
Here we find liberal black intellectual illogicality in its purest form. This article fails to approach history with an objective eye, fails to look at men like Washington in accordance with the status quo of the day, and fails to look at Washington's and slavery's entwined existence as a whole. The very title misleads the reader on what actually occurred in its' described event. The truth is- without men like Washington the revolution of individual rights that spread across the entire globe in the 19th century would not have occurred. It is no coincidence that so quickly, in historical terms, after the Declaration and ensuing revolution, the evils of slavery were, for the first time in human history, vanquished from the realms of accepted civilized practice. It's no coincidence that the men, families, and direct posterity of our founding fathers became the leading abolitionist voices of there day. The black elite continues to try to instil a natural hatred of America and American history in our future leaders and educated youth. It continues to betray the very values that directly led to our freedom, values that if we adhered to today would improve our state exponentially. Instead, we are led down the path of the "talented tenth" and general poverty and mediocrity that currently plagues our community. It's time our community rejected this nonsense. Were our founders perfect? Not at all. But was the trail they blazed perhaps the most significant and revolutionary in human history? Absolutely, and they directly improved our lot as black AMERICANS in this country in a shorter order than human history has ever seen
Reply Kamal
7:30 PM on June 14, 2014 
Andrew says...
HA! What a bunch of crap! Spoken like a true apologist. Your comments are so a-historical that they don't even deserve comment. Keep on with your Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman historiography. Civil War? Jim Crow, aka as Segregation, lynching? Colonialism? Genocide? All figments of Black imagination? Puleez.
Here we find liberal black intellectual illogicality in its purest form. This article fails to approach history with an objective eye, fails to look at men like Washington in accordance with the status quo of the day, and fails to look at Washington's and slavery's entwined existence as a whole. The very title misleads the reader on what actually occurred in its' described event. The truth is- without men like Washington the revolution of individual rights that spread across the entire globe in the 19th century would not have occurred. It is no coincidence that so quickly, in historical terms, after the Declaration and ensuing revolution, the evils of slavery were, for the first time in human history, vanquished from the realms of accepted civilized practice. It's no coincidence that the men, families, and direct posterity of our founding fathers became the leading abolitionist voices of there day. The black elite continues to try to instil a natural hatred of America and American history in our future leaders and educated youth. It continues to betray the very values that directly led to our freedom, values that if we adhered to today would improve our state exponentially. Instead, we are led down the path of the "talented tenth" and general poverty and mediocrity that currently plagues our community. It's time our community rejected this nonsense. Were our founders perfect? Not at all. But was the trail they blazed perhaps the most significant and revolutionary in human history? Absolutely, and they directly improved our lot as black AMERICANS in this country in a shorter order than human history has ever seen
Reply Andrew
12:22 PM on May 7, 2014 
Here we find liberal black intellectual illogicality in its purest form. This article fails to approach history with an objective eye, fails to look at men like Washington in accordance with the status quo of the day, and fails to look at Washington's and slavery's entwined existence as a whole. The very title misleads the reader on what actually occurred in its' described event. The truth is- without men like Washington the revolution of individual rights that spread across the entire globe in the 19th century would not have occurred. It is no coincidence that so quickly, in historical terms, after the Declaration and ensuing revolution, the evils of slavery were, for the first time in human history, vanquished from the realms of accepted civilized practice. It's no coincidence that the men, families, and direct posterity of our founding fathers became the leading abolitionist voices of there day. The black elite continues to try to instil a natural hatred of America and American history in our future leaders and educated youth. It continues to betray the very values that directly led to our freedom, values that if we adhered to today would improve our state exponentially. Instead, we are led down the path of the "talented tenth" and general poverty and mediocrity that currently plagues our community. It's time our community rejected this nonsense. Were our founders perfect? Not at all. But was the trail they blazed perhaps the most significant and revolutionary in human history? Absolutely, and they directly improved our lot as black AMERICANS in this country in a shorter order than human history has ever seen
Reply barbara
9:50 AM on May 7, 2014 
I am also scratching my head at "Zionist corporations." I believed this article until that line.
Reply Michael
9:20 PM on May 5, 2014 
I know this is slightly off topic, but I'm scratching my head at the particular line: "his December 19, 1786 vow to never again purchase another slave from Zionist corporations that invaded Africa villages with guns and kidnapped people"
The Zionist movement is typically dated back to Theodor Herzl in the late 19th century. Were there really slavers in 1786 who were also advocating for a Jewish state in Palestine, or does this mean something else?
Reply Danesha
11:21 AM on May 5, 2014 
Based on my understanding of racism, racists don't Cate about the color of your skin when they want to rape and pilfer. If they sexually penetrated their "species of property" it wasn't beneath them to STEAL their teeth.
Reply Voiceofreason
9:57 AM on May 4, 2014 
You find it highly unlikely the teeth of a African would have been implanted into dentures for a white man, given the racist presumptions of the day. But you don't find it unlikely that the women slaves were frequently raped by their owners.
Reply Reunionblackfamily.
12:14 AM on May 3, 2014 
The "Black" Eye on George Washington's "White" House

September 11, 2005, updated October 21, 2010

Michael Coard, Esquire
Avenging The Ancestors Coalition (ATAC) http://avengingtheancestors.com/releases/black-eye.htm
Reply Reunionblackfamily.
12:09 AM on May 3, 2014 
For a more comprehensive commentary regarding the ?Slave Biographies,? see ushistory.org/presidentshouse/slaves. Also, as noted therein, see the unpublished work of Mary V. Thompson, Research Specialist of the Mount Vernon Ladies Association. In addition, as pointed out in numerous lectures by Dr. Shirley Turpin-Parham, Official Historian of Avenging The Ancestors Coalition (ATAC), see Mark J. Sammons and Valerie Cunningham, Black Portsmouth: Three Centuries of African American Heritage, (Hanover, 2004), 69.
Ellis, His Excellency, 312.
?An Act to Explain and Amend An Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery? Section 2, Mar. 29, 1788, General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Information regarding this amendment was provided to this writer by Edward Lawler Jr. on July 13, 2006, which is why it was inserted herein subsequent to this paper?s publication in October 2005.
George Washington to Tobias Lear, Apr. 12, 1791 in The Writings of George Washington, ed. Fitzpatrick, 37:573-74, quoted in Wiencek, Imperfect God, 315-16. Italics added.
Wiencek, An Imperfect God, 251, 254-58.
Annals of Congress, 2d Cong., 2d sess., Feb. 12, 1793, 1414-15.
Ray Raphael, A People?s History of the American Revolution (New York, 2002), p. 321 (and p. 331). The quote was originally published in the Pennsylvania Evening Post, December 14, 1775. Also, it was cited in Gary B. Nash and Jean R. Soderlund, Freedom By Degrees: Emancipation in Pennsylvania and Its Aftermath (New York, 1991), p. 77 and in Peter H. Wood, ??The Dream Deferred?: Black Struggles on the Eve of White Independence? as part of an article in Gary Y. Okihiro, ed., In Resistance: Studies in African, Caribean, and Afro-American History (Amherst, 1986), p. 177-8. (This footnote was added on April 5, 2008.)
The House Appropriation Committee?s amendment is posted at ushistory.org/presidentshouse/controversy/houserpt.htm.
Reply Reunionblackfamily.
12:07 AM on May 3, 2014 
deeceevoice says...
I'm aware of the composition of early dentures and note that the photograph clearly shows human teeth. What is missing in this piece is documentation of the claim that Washington's false teeth were "yanked from the heads of his slaves..." -- a contention that appears in the heading (obviously to attract attention), but one that remains TOTALLY UNSUBSTANTIATED OR EVEN DEFINITIVELY STATED in the body of the piece.

And my skepticism has nothing to do with the treatment of Washington or anyone else's slaves. We all know how barbaric the institution of chattel slavery was. The direct quote from the source uses the term "apparently."

What the hell does THAT mean? Apparent to whom, and on what basis? Merely because it's a human tooth?

That's hardly definitive. Nor does it make a bit of sense. I find it highly unlikely the teeth of a African would have been implanted into dentures for a white man, given the racist presumptions of the day. It is far more likely that Washington's own extracted teeth were inserted into his dentures, or that they were from some other source.

Slaves were valuable property, their teeth often checked by potential buyers before purchase. I find the contention highly specious -- and certainly insufficiently documented, It is pure speculation, the basis of which has not been presented.

Frankly, I think it's bullsh*t. We should have higher standards. And we should not disseminate unsupported assumption as fact.

There are enough bona fide instances of brutality, inhumanity and cruelty associated with slavery that we don't need to fabricate things that didn't happen or speculate. Such unsubstantiated -- and unlikely -- speculative assumptions are not credible scholarship and have the potential to discredit or cast aspersions upon legitimate, documented, irrefutable accounts of our history.

I'm fed up with reading ridiculous fabrications like a black man invented the cell phone, allusions to the totally bogus and thoroughly discredited "Willie Lynch letter," and that Napoleon had the Giza sphinx's nose shot off. This reads like more of the same.

If it doesn't ring true, and there's no definitive proof -- as in this instance -- I ain't buyin' it. We really must be far more rigorous in our examination of our past. Venerated historians like Chancellor Williams, Ivan Van Sertima, Dr. Ben, E. Franklin Frazier and others would shake their heads at such sloppy scholarship -- and at our gullibility and lack of intellectual rigor in accepting it as fact -- especially when, in this case, the author of the information himself won't even commit to it!
Reply deeceevoice
9:48 PM on May 2, 2014 
I'm aware of the composition of early dentures and note that the photograph clearly shows human teeth. What is missing in this piece is documentation of the claim that Washington's false teeth were "yanked from the heads of his slaves..." -- a contention that appears in the heading (obviously to attract attention), but one that remains TOTALLY UNSUBSTANTIATED OR EVEN DEFINITIVELY STATED in the body of the piece.

And my skepticism has nothing to do with the treatment of Washington or anyone else's slaves. We all know how barbaric the institution of chattel slavery was. The direct quote from the source uses the term "apparently."

What the hell does THAT mean? Apparent to whom, and on what basis? Merely because it's a human tooth?

That's hardly definitive. Nor does it make a bit of sense. I find it highly unlikely the teeth of a African would have been implanted into dentures for a white man, given the racist presumptions of the day. It is far more likely that Washington's own extracted teeth were inserted into his dentures, or that they were from some other source.

Slaves were valuable property, their teeth often checked by potential buyers before purchase. I find the contention highly specious -- and certainly insufficiently documented, It is pure speculation, the basis of which has not been presented.

Frankly, I think it's bullsh*t. We should have higher standards. And we should not disseminate unsupported assumption as fact.

There are enough bona fide instances of brutality, inhumanity and cruelty associated with slavery that we don't need to fabricate things that didn't happen or speculate. Such unsubstantiated -- and unlikely -- speculative assumptions are not credible scholarship and have the potential to discredit or cast aspersions upon legitimate, documented, irrefutable accounts of our history.

I'm fed up with reading ridiculous fabrications like a black man invented the cell phone, allusions to the totally bogus and thoroughly discredited "Willie Lynch letter," and that Napoleon had the Giza sphinx's nose shot off. This reads like more of the same.

If it doesn't ring true, and there's no definitive proof -- as in this instance -- I ain't buyin' it. We really must be far more rigorous in our examination of our past. Venerated historians like Chancellor Williams, Ivan Van Sertima, Dr. Ben, E. Franklin Frazier and others would shake their heads at such sloppy scholarship -- and at our gullibility and lack of intellectual rigor in accepting it as fact -- especially when, in this case, the author of the information himself won't even commit to it!