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 .

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The New York Times

The New York Times7 min read
Ali Wong Is Crossing Lines Again,This Time in a Book
The star of two uproarious Netflix comedy specials is nervous about how people will react to her essay collection. “I hope my siblings don’t get pissed at me,” she says.
The New York Times4 min read
Margaret Atwood and Bernardine Evaristo Share Booker Prize
The Booker Prize judges rebelled against the literary prize’s rules and awarded it to “The Testaments” (by Margaret Atwood) and “Girl, Woman, Other” (by Bernardine Evaristo).
The New York Times4 min read
When You Take a Great Photo, Thank the Algorithm in Your Phone
Not too long ago, tech giants like Apple and Samsung raved about the number of megapixels they were cramming into smartphone cameras to make photos look clearer. Nowadays, all the handset-makers are shifting focus to the algorithms, artificial intell