In the annals of abolitionist history, names like William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, the Grimke sisters, and Harriet Tubman are well known. Dr. Marcus Rediker
's new book, The Fearless Benjamin Lay: The Quaker Dwarf Who Became The First Revolutionary Abolitionist
(Beacon Press, 2017) adds an important abolitionist to this group of revolutionaries. Benjamin Lay lived and proclaimed a life dedicated to the immediate abolition of slavery over a century before many of the women and men aforementioned were either born or first proclaimed abolition as their chosen lifework. Many characteristics described Benjamin Lay: Quaker, dwarf, vegetarian, cave-dweller, sailor, farmer, or anti-capitalist; all of them informed his personal interpretation of militant and revolutionary abolitionism.
Adam McNeil is a soon-to-be PhD in History and Colored Conventions Project Fellow at the University of Delaware. He can be reached on Twitter @CulturedModesty.