Benjamin Lay painted by William Williams, 1750. Lay was a radical abolitionist and agitator who exhorted the full and immediate abolition of slavery three decades before the Declaration of Independence proclaimed that ‘all men are created equal.’ Unlike the racially-qualified natural rights advocated by the so-called founding fathers, Lay stood in a radical tradition of freedom thought that ultimately inspired and informed the great freedom movements of the modern age. This portrait was commissioned by Benjamin Franklin’s wife, and was hung in the Franklin home for many years.
Glad tidings to all our friends of HAG, as we wrap up 2022 and another eventful year in history. Predicting the future of the past is not for the squeamish, and once again we take our listeners into the breach where stories get made and stories are told, and as always, we are searching for a history we can trust. Take the American freedom story that gets constantly recycled, where great ideas come from the pens of great men, and freedom is bestowed as a gift by founding fathers. Have you heard it? It’s in all the textbooks. We’re going to check the label on that one, see where it was made and with what ingredients. Too many added preservatives and saturated fats it would seem, and grown from a toxic soil. Here at HAG we are on a fitness kick, and recommend a healthy history diet grown from a truthful soil, with stories that are equitably sourced, humanely raised, and rich in storytelling nutrients. In fact, let’s make it our New Year’s resolution: a healthy history diet and a happy and healthy 2023.
Click to hear Episode 60 Toxic Soil
Sources Referenced and items of interest
Marcus Rediker, The Fearless Benjamin Lay: The Quaker Dwarf Who Became the First Revolutionary Abolitionist
Christopher Hill, The World Turned Upside Down: Radical Ideas During the English Revolution
Pekka Hämäläine, Indigenous Continent: The Epic Contest for North America
Ned Blackhawk, The Rediscovery of America: Native Peoples and the Unmaking of U.S. History
“Some of these seeds produce their fruits in a short time, but the most valuable of them, like the venerable oak—are centuries in growing; but they are unlike the pride of the forests, as well as all other vegetable productions, in being incapable of a decay.
They exist and bloom for ever.”Benjamin Rush