Mount Vernon discontinues Washington magnet over slave teeth controversy
George Washington’s Mount Vernon has discontinued the sale of a magnet depicting the first president’s false teeth, which critics say came from teeth pulled from his slaves’ mouths.
Mount Vernon tweeted in response to criticism from historian Ana Lucia Araujo, who said “it’s time to remove the magnet of Washington’s teeth (that included teeth of enslaved persons) from your store.”
The estate responded by announcing the magnets will no longer be for sale in its online store.
“Thank you for bringing this to our attention,” it posted. “We have alerted our management team, and have removed the item from our online store.”
Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We have alerted our management team, and have removed the item from our online store.
— Mount Vernon (@MountVernon) February 19, 2020
The web page where the magnets were sold has been disabled as of Wednesday afternoon, The Associated Press reported.
Critics have argued that the magnet undermines the story behind the first president’s false teeth and how slaves had to give up their own teeth to make them, according to the AP. Washington paid six pounds for nine teeth pulled from slaves, according to a 1784 ledger, but Mount Vernon’s website indicates the payment does not mean the slaves had any choice in the matter.
The myth that his teeth were made of wood has been proven false long ago.
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