Bill Richmond, a.k.a. the “Black Terror”, was the first African-American to be labeled an international “prizefighter.” Born a slave in the area that is now called Richmondtown in Staten Island, Richmond also served as a hangman during the Revolutionary War. His most famous hanging was Nathaniel Hale, the first American to be labeled a spy.
Richmond was born to slaves in New York in 1763. Around the end of the 18th century, Richmond, then 14 years old, was sent away to be educated in cabinetmaking in Yorkshire, England. But after being prompted to fight after an argument with a soldier, he spent more time boxing than making cabinets. Having his first professional fight in 1804, the self-taught welterweight would fight men 4 and 5 times his size and win.