Black History Month – the story of Arthur Wharton, the world’s first black professional footballer

We’re marking Black History Month by celebrating the diverse communities that make up our borough.

And there can no better way of celebrating our black history than by telling the story of Arthur Wharton.

Arthur travelled to England from Ghana as a teenager in 1883, originally set on becoming a missionary. Despite the discrimination he would have faced on a daily basis, his footballing talent shone through and he played for a number of the country’s leading clubs – first as an an amateur – and then as a semi-professional at Preston.

But when Arthur joined the then Rotherham Town in 1889, he became the first black professional footballer on the planet. Without knowing it at the time, he was paving the way for black athletes across the globe.

Sincere thanks for the contribution of the Arthur Wharton Foundation and Rotherham United FC for their support in helping to make this video.