The Abolitionist Benjamin Lay Was a Hero Ahead of His Time

Radical Quaker Benjamin Lay was a pioneer of abolitionism, who lived what he preached. So why was he erased from history?

Aeon Magazine
Sep 4, 2018 · 14 min read
Painting of Benjamin Lay by William Williams, 1790 (detail) via National Portrait Gallery/Art Resource, New York/Wikimedia Commons/public domain

By Marcus Rediker

In September 1738, Benjamin Lay, a radical Quaker barely four feet tall, filled an animal bladder with bright red…

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