Historically, James Hewlett is recognized as the first African
Start: The whole time I was working as George Cooke’s man-servant and his dresser, he could never tell if I was playing a part or not.
[... … …]
End: And I knew, and I knew he knew, that, that was me underneath Lear’s robe, while he bowed to applause for a Lear he could never again be. A Lear that tore the whole house down.
Brown, Carlyle. The African Company Presents Richard III. New York, 1994, pp.13-14.