The Arthur Wharton Story
The World’s First Black Professional Footballer
Football Unites, Racism Divides, (FURD), have been involved in celebrating, researching and disseminating the story and achievements of Arthur Wharton since 1996 when they raised money for a stone to be added to Arthur’s unmarked grave in. Arthur was largely forgotten by the history books after his death in 1930 until the mid-1980s.
In the last few decades, FURD, along with his family, historians, sports organisations and individuals have been working hard to ensure that Arthur’s
accomplishments continue to be
recognised and that his pioneering story is used to inspire future generations and provide a clearer picture of the sporting and multicultural heritage of Britain.
The Arthur Wharton Heritage Project (2012-13) was a Heritage Lottery project intended to do research and educational resource work around Arthur’s memory.
Arthur Wharton was a remarkable 19th century sportsman who lived in Victorian Britain. Not only does he hold the title of the first black professional footballer in the world, he was also a world record holding sprinter, a professional cricketer and an all-round outstanding athlete.
After retiring from playing football for several of the prestigious teams of his day, Arthur, an immigrant from Africa’s Gold Coast, spent 20 years working as a Yorkshire coal miner until his death in 1930 at the age of 65. Arthur was buried in an unmarked pauper’s grave in the village of Edlington, near Doncaster, South Yorkshire.
Employer: Football Unites, Racism Divides / Heritage Lottery Funded