The New York Times

You'll Never Be as Radical as This 18th-Century Quaker Dwarf

GIVE THIS ENVIRONMENTALLY CONSCIOUS ABOLITIONIST HIS RIGHTFUL PLACE IN HISTORY.

It was September 1738, and Benjamin Lay had walked 20 miles, subsisting on “acorns and peaches,” to reach the Quakers’ Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. Beneath his overcoat he wore a military uniform and a sword — both anathema to Quaker teachings. He also carried a hollowed-out book with a secret compartment, into which he had tucked a tied-off animal bladder filled with bright red pokeberry juice.

When it was Lay’s turn to speak, he rose to address the Quakers, many of whom had grownrespects all people equally, be they rich or poor, man or woman, white or black.

This article originally appeared in .

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