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200 Years On, U.K. Hunts for Grave of Man Called World’s 1st Black Sports Star

Born a slave on Staten Island in 1763, Bill Richmond left America in 1777, never to return, and spent most of his life in Britain. But it was not until he was 40 years old that he began bare-knuckle boxing — a brutal sport that brought him fame, prestige and an invitation to the coronation of King George IV.

Yet even in his adopted country, where he has been called the world’s first black sporting superstar — or stereotype, some would say — Mr. Richmond’s remarkable life story is largely forgotten.

Now, almost two centuries after his death, in 1829, he is back in the limelight as a search begins in earnest for Mr. Richmond’s remains.

As part of a rail upgrade, one of London’s main stations is being redeveloped, prompting the excavation of a burial ground containing the remains of an estimated 45,000 Londoners, including Mr. Richmond.

Read entire article at NYT