Not so well known is John Woolman. Almost 80 years prior to the Civil War, in 1783, the actions of this thoughtful tailor from New Jersey abolished slavery within the Religious Society of Friends, or Quaker, community across the United States. The Quakers freed their slaves without a war and without any deaths.
The espoused Quaker belief had always been that all human beings were equal; in reality their economic well-being depended on slave labor. Woolman received a revelation from God that slavery should be abolished. He spent the next 20 years, at great emotional and monetary cost to himself and his family, traveling by foot to Quaker circles all around the country. His message was not well received but his inspiration was acknowledged as genuine.
Year after year this quiet, dignified man knocked on doors and made steady progress, opening the minds and hearts of his community. His humanity and concern resonated within his listeners and prompted sweeping discussions and radical shifts in philosophy and action. In time, the Quaker nation arrived at a consensus and ended slavery. One man trusted his vision and pursued it until it became a reality. Woolman lived his ideal and became the conscience of his community.
Live your ideal and be a great man, too.
From September 2010, http://raising-a-man.tumblr.com