Arthur Wharton was a spectacular goalkeeper of his time; not only was he the world’s first professional black football player but he also holds the record as the world’s first fastest man on the planet. As we celebrate Black History Month, a very special mural by street artist Jay Kaes of this iconic sports figure has been unveiled in tribute to the 155th anniversary of Arthur Wharton which takes place on October 28th. The mural, commissioned by BT Sports is located on the Arthur Wharton Foundation Centre in Darlington, where Wharton kickstarted his football career back in 1885.
The mural on the Arthur Wharton Foundation Centre in Darlington is also full of clues as to Wharton’s background. Within it the black and white colours of Darlington FC can be seen. These are fused with the colours of the Ghanaian flag. He was born in what was then Jamestown but what is now Accra. He would move to the North East at 19 with the initial intention of training to become a methodist preacher.
Two of Arthur Wharton’s awards are also shown on the mural. The Prince Hassan Pacha Challenge Trophy earned from winning the 100 yards championship and the Cleveland Challenge Cup he won with Darlington in 1887. His birth name ‘Kwame’ can also be seen on the mural. In total it took three days to complete ready for the 155th anniversary of his birth on 28 October 2020.
Hunted by Tim.
Pictures by provided by the artist.