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He lived in a cave, made his own clothes, refused to consume anything produced by slave labor, championed animal rights, and embraced vegetarianism. He acted on his ideals to create a new, practical, revolutionary way of life. The program addresses two questions: How did Lay make the breakthrough to abolitionism at a time when so many of his peers, including Quakers, accepted slavery? And why is this pioneer of anti-slavery so little-known today?
Presenter: Marcus Rediker is Distinguished Professor of Atlantic History at the University of Pittsburgh. His “histories from below” have won numerous awards, including the George Washington Book Prize, and have been translated into seventeen languages worldwide. He is the author of "The Fearless Benjamin Lay: The Quaker Dwarf who became the First Revolutionary Abolitionist". on which this program is based. He has produced a prize-winning documentary, "Ghosts of Amistad" (director Tony Buba) about the Amistad slave ship revolt of 1839. He is currently working as guest curator in the JMW Turner Gallery at Tate Britain and writing a book about escaping slavery by sea in antebellum America.
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