Marcus Rediker will speak about the subject of his recent book: the transatlantic life and times of Benjamin Lay, an eighteenth-century Quaker dwarf who was one of the first to demand the total, unconditional emancipation of all enslaved Africans around the world. Mocked and scorned by his contemporaries, Lay was unflinching in his opposition to slavery, often performing colorful guerrilla theater to shame slave masters and insisting that human bondage violated the fundamental principles of Christianity. He drew on his ideals to create a revolutionary way of life, one that embodied the proclamation “no justice, no peace.”
Marcus Rediker is Distinguished Professor of Atlantic History at the University of Pittsburgh and Senior Research Fellow at the Collège d’études mondiales in Paris. He is the author of numerous prize-winning books, including The Many-Headed Hydra (with Peter Linebaugh), The Slave Ship, and The Amistad Rebellion. He produced the award-winning documentary film Ghosts of Amistad (Tony Buba, director), about how the Amistad Mutiny of 1839 lives on today in popular memory among the people of Sierra Leone.