Astonishing Black History Collection Uncovers Little-Known Facts

Retired NYC school teacher develops one of the world's finest African American History Collections, documenting and sharing the lives of forgotten heroes.

NEW YORK, July 23, 2013 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- In tandem with the nation's commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, Elizabeth Meaders – a dedicated and persistent collector of African American history – recently uncovered an amazing American history story -- America's first sports superstar. Bill Richmond. Ever heard of him?


Elizabeth is a retired New York City school teacher who, over a fifty year period, has amassed what is arguably America's most comprehensive collection of well over 10,000 African America documents and artifacts held in private hands. A remarkable human-interest story.

Meaders has ten sub-collections that are equally stunning: 1). Sports 2). Military 3). Women 4). Politics 5). Slavery 6). Abolition 7). Religion 8). Arts & Entertainment 9). Education 10). Civil Rights.

Here are just a few of the thousands of documents and artifacts in her collection:

  • Joe Louis' boxing championship belt
  • Cowboy Bill Pickett's saddle
  • actual Buffalo Soldiers parade helmet
  • 18 KT gold relic charm of Toussaint L'Ouverture
  • 3.5 ft. bronze sculpture of Joe Louis
  • Marcus Garvey's death mask
  • life-size wax figure of Hank Aaron
  • 1840 embroidered sampler with anti-slavery poem
  • genuine Medgar Evers funeral memorial
  • 54th Mass USCT drum beater used by drummer boy, Miles C. Moore
  • Sugar Ray Robinson trophy
  • Dave Parker's (Reds) MVP trophy
  • actual telegram announcing Madam CJ Walker's death
  • genuine 1855 slave runaway broadside
  • NAACP Spingarn medal issued to Sammy Davis, Jr.
  • 18 KT gold watch given by Civil War "colored troops" to their captain
  • John Brown sterling silver sculptured ring
  • and so much more...

Take the time to review an introductory website about Elizabeth's collection, with a small photo gallery –  (problems with browser try:

Elizabeth Meaders, the owner of the collection (Elizabeth Meaders) resides in the NY City region. Elizabeth's desire is to entrust her historical legacy into the hands and heart of someone who really cares.

BILL RICHMOND (1763-1829): Elizabeth's latest finding gives a unique twist to American history. Elizabeth has documented evidence that America's first sports superstar was Bill Richmond, a former slave, who was born in Staten Island, NY. Bill, later known as "The Black Terror," became one of boxing's most accomplished and respected fighters of the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

Richmond was thrust into an unusual situation when his former master fled as the British were capturing Staten Island under the command of General Percy. Bill enlisted in the British Army and became a stable hand.

Richmond was no older than 12-13 years of age when he came to the attention of General Percy, who was then the Commanding General of British forces in the region during America's War of Independence.

Percy took Richmond in after the young fellow, weighing less than 160 pounds, had handled himself quite well in a tavern brawl with several Redcoats on November 5, 1776. Here is a brief glimpse into the fight in the General's own words:

"A young [man] was ostling (taking care of horses) the officer's mounts and fetching water for the horses, when a Corporal of the Brunswick division chaffed (irritated) the Black boy and he did make sport of the ostler's (stableman's) color (Black man). Two more Hessians joined in the folly, and one of them tripping the Black boy a-purpose so that he dropped his water can, spilling the lot. In the ensuing melee, the youth easily paid them in full for their merriment by striking the three soldiers repeatedly. Most amazing, despite the fact that the soldiers were much larger, Richmond's movements and parries completely thwarted their efforts to hit him in turn until at last, two of the Hessian rogues gave flight and ran, as the Brunswick corporal fell to bleeding hard by the horse trough. The Blackmore (sic) warrior triumphant, he fetched his water can and went back to work as if nothing had occurred." (Black Genesisby Kevin Smith, page 13).

Percy was so impressed that he brought young Richmond back to England as his personal valet. Richmond's success continued in contests, arranged by Percy as entertainment for his guests, against New York-based British soldiers.

UNUSUAL TWIST OF AMERICAN HISTORY: Richmond was the young man commanded by the British forces to help hang American patriot/spy, Nathan Hale, on September 22, 1776.

In his later years Richmond ran a boxing academy in London and died there on December 29, 1829, at age 66.

Elizabeth Meaders has several original images of Bill Richmond -- providing a rare glimpse into his superstar world.

This is just one example of the educational and inspirational value of her collection.

ACTION POINTS: Anyone interested in acquiring her unique collection of African American history – or wants to write a human interest story about her quest in developing this collection –  can review the website and contact Joel A. Freeman:

Joel A. Freeman, Ph.D.
Cell: 410.991.9718

Media Contact: Joel Freeman, Freeman Institute, 410.991.9718,

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SOURCE Freeman Institute



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