Arthur Wharton

A true sporting pioneer and trailblazer

Arthur “Kwame” Wharton was born in Jamestown, Ghana in 1865.

In 1883, he moved to England to train as a missionary at Cleveland College, Darlington.

It was there he began his amazing sporting careers, competing as a ‘gentleman amateur’, but soon abandoning this in favour of becoming a full-time athlete.

Arthur became the first official fastest man when he ran a record time of 10 seconds dead in the 100 yards (now meters) on the 3rd July 1886 at Stamford Bridge, London.

His World Record would stand for over 30 years.

Arthur went on to become the world’s first black professional footballer.

He also later became a cycling champion, professional cricketer and a rugby player.

Arthur’s achievements in the face of adversity, his contribution to the communities he lived in and the scale of his successes make him a unique figurehead.

He tackled issues in his lifetime that are still very relevant today.

In 1930, Arthur died penniless in the Springwell Sanatorium in Balby and was buried in an unmarked grave in Edlington Cemetery.

In May 1997, Arthur’s grave was given a headstone after a campaign by anti-racism organisation Football Unites Racism Divides for recognition of his achievements.

Arthur Wharton’s place in history is assured and his legacy will last forever.

Arthur “Kwame” Wharton
  • Born: 28 October 1865, Ghana
  • Died: 13 December 1930, England
  • Father: Henry Wharton, Grenadian-Scottish, minister and missionary
  • Mother: Annie Florence Egyriba, Ghanaian, member of Fante royalty

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