Arthur Wharton Mural (Darlington, Jaykaes, 2020)

This mural in Darlington (on Widdowfield Street) was created to honour a unique piece of sporting history. Arthur “Kwame” Wharton was the world’s first black professional footballer who began his career in goal for Darlington back in 1883. This piece celebrates the 155th anniversary of Wharton’s birth, 28th October 1865.

The debonair Wharton came to Darlington from what is now Ghana to train as a missionary, enrolling at Cleveland College. He soon proved himself to be an impressive athlete, cycling, playing cricket and of course football. Wharton played in England for 17 years for teams such as Rotherham, Sunderland and Sheffield United.

As reported in the Northern Echo, “Shaun Campbell from Darlington, set up the Arthur Wharton Foundation where the mural is being painted.

Mr Campbell said: “We’re painting a seminal moment for Darlington, it’s a mural of Arthur Wharton, the world’s first black professional footballer, also the world’s first fastest man on the planet and this will all get launched on the 28th of October, which is the 155th anniversary of Arthur Wharton. Welcome to a great piece of art. “

The mural is the work of graffiti artist Jaykaes. Thank you to Shaun Campbell from the Arthur Wharton Foundation for his help and support with this entry.

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