Join us at Arch Street Meeting House on Friday, May 12th, from 5:30 to 7 pm for The Vegetarian Legacy of Benjamin Lay, presented by Vance Lehmkuhl of the American Vegan Center.
Benjamin Lay was scorned and laughed at during his life for his stubborn, relentless advocacy for the abolition of slavery from as early as 1732, and he spent nearly two centuries as a nearly-forgotten footnote to history. Thanks to Marcus Rediker’s 2017 biography The Fearless Benjamin Lay (now optioned for a major motion picture!), more Americans are starting to learn and appreciate how his anti-slavery activism reverberated through U.S. history, up to and beyond the US civil war. But his vegetarianism, which for Lay was cut from the same cloth as his abolitionism, also impacted American history.
We will look at how his influence was borne out in the lives of US vegetarians such as Anthony Benezet, John Woolman, Joshua Evans, Stephen Grellet, Sarah & Angelina Grimke, Bronson Alcott, and Dr. William Alcott, the first president of the American Vegetarian Society.
Vance Lehmkuhl runs the veg history tour program at the American Vegan Center, offering pre-scheduled and custom walking tours around Old City. He is the author of Eating Vegan in Philly (2016) and V for Veg: The Best of Philly’s Vegan Food Column (2016), both from Sullivan Street Press. He spent years as the vegan columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News and, prior to that, as the political cartoonist for Philadelphia City Paper, for which he was named Best of Philly by Philadelphia Magazine. He also founded the eco-pop band Green Beings, whose novelty patter song “Leftovers” has been heard many times on Dr. Demento’s radio show. Vance is passionate about three things: Helping acquaint people with Philadelphia’s amazing veg history; his wife, Cynthia Way; and the symphonies of Joseph Haydn.