From "A Visible Difference: Skin, Race, and Identity: 1720-1820," an exhibition by the Royal College of Surgeons of England
George Alexander was a black child with a skin pigmentation disorder
known as piebaldism. For much of his short life he was exhibited for
show, described as â€˜the Beautiful Spotted Negro Boyâ€™ and â€˜a fanciful
child of nature formed in her most playful moodâ€™.
George was born to black African parents who were slaves on a
plantation on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent. From birth George
attracted attention and curiosity, and as a baby he was displayed in
his local town for a fee of one dollar. When he was just 15 months old
he was transported to Bristol where he was delivered into the care of a
travelling showman named John Richardson. He was baptised at Newington Church in Surrey on 22 July 1810.
George was the star attraction in Richardsonâ€™s travelling theatre.
He was exhibited at fairs and shows, and was shown privately to wealthy
patrons. Although Richardson was said to have behaved with â€˜great
kindnessâ€™ George was often exhibited for up to twelve hours a day.
This schedule may have affected his health. George died on 3
February 1813 of a tumour in the jaw. He was buried at All Saints
Church in Richardsonâ€™s hometown in Marlow. By his own request,
Richardson was later buried in the same vault as George and their
tombstones were bolted together.
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