Henry David Thoreau, of Concord, Massachusetts, became entranced with the philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson’s ideas of self-reliance. Ideas that led, on a parcel of Emerson’s land, to the Walden project, to prison for refusing to pay his poll tax, to helping runaway slaves to freedom, and to voluminous writings. Though now seen as a centrepiece of American Transcendentalism, what Martin Luther King called Thoreau’s “legacy of creative protest” against governments led to his writings being officially removed from US libraries in the 1950’s.

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