John Woolman, revered today as one of the earliest Quaker opponents to slavery in the USA, was considered quite the fashion oddball in his time. He dressed in homespun white wool clothes, whether the wool was weighed down by cold rain or made him sweat in summer heat. Why did he not dress in plain gray cotton clothes, like most other Quakers did at the time?
John believed that neither cotton nor dyes would be available without slave labor and that, if he bought dyed cotton, he would be supporting slavery. He would both be legitimizing slavery and paying slave owners and traders to continue their practices.
Though many other Quakers soon joined John’s opposition to slavery and The Religious Society of Friends threw its weight into abolition, few Quakers ever adopted John’s attire.
One of John Woolman’s most famous statements was that we should look to our possessions for the seeds of war.
Query for prayerful consideration:
Are there ways in which my possessions are “seeds of war”?