Origins of Richard

I had recently posted on a blog a couple days ago in regards to Richard's origins. The blogger suggested that he might have been the First Mate on the Black Rock. However, I pointed out, the Black Rock was a British slave ship and Richard is not British. I doubt he would have been First Mate. So then I thought

perhaps he was one of the slaves?

And my suspicions were only pressed when Smokey/Locke said to Richard: "Hello Richard. It's nice to see you out of those chains."

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