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'Forgotten' figure of black British history to be honoured in central London church

A “LARGELY forgotten figure” in black British history was yesterday honoured with a plaque in a central London church.

Rector Lucy Winkett, of St James’s Piccadilly, said it was the church’s “duty and honour to mark the 250th anniversary” of the baptism of Quobna Ottobah Cugoano, one of the most prominent abolitionists of the time.

The Diocese of London said Cugoano’s exact dates of birth and death are unknown and the only verifiable place and date of his story was his baptism at the church on August 20 1773, a year after he was freed from slavery.

In his 1787 book Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil of Slavery, he described being trafficked at 13 to work on a plantation in Grenada, before gaining his freedom in 1772.

The church is also installing the world’s first permanent art commission artwork, by Trinidad-based artist Che Lovelace, to commemorate his life at the church’s entrance next month.

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