THE first black professional footballer player – who has links to Darlington – has been given a spot on a reimagined map of the London underground.

Arthur Wharton is one of influential black people to be included on the map, which was created by Transport for London (TFL) to mark black history month.

His stop, where Charing Cross would usually be, is on the Bakerloo line, which is dedicated to sportspeople.

Read more: Arthur Wharton mural launched in Darlington after 12 year labour of love

Shaun Campbell, who has been working to bring his story to light, said: “I'm thrilled about it. I didn't know anything about it before it came out so it was a nice surprise. It was really lovely to see and a few people have been in touch about it so it has clearly resonated with people.

"It shows that Arthur's name and his story is out there."

Arthur Wharton started his sporting career at Darlington FC after coming to the town at the age of 19 to train as a Methodist preacher at Cleveland College.

He became the world’s fastest man when he won a race over 100 yards at Stamford Bridge, in London, in 1886 and was Darlington’s goalkeeper, becoming the world’s first professional black footballer.

He was also a record-breaking cyclist, cricketer and rugby player.

This month marks the first anniversary of the launch of the Arthur Wharton Foundation, at a property on the corner between Drury Street and Widdowfield Street in Darlington.

And today is the the seventh anniversary of the unveiling of a statue of Arthur Wharton at St George’s Park.

To mark the occasion, a new mural of the statue has been painted in the courtyard of the foundation. And it is not the only recent addition – a mural has also been painted in recognition of the achievements of Darlington boxing champion Troy Williamson, who won the British Super Welterweight title in Liverpool last weekend.

Mr Campbell added: "I'm so proud of him and what's achieved. And every time he's fighting and he does that huge upper cut there's Arthur Wharton on his arm. It's wonderful for him to be so embracing of the history of Darlington."

The Northern Echo:

Mr Campbell said he had been inundated with requests to speak at schools in Darlington and Teesside as part of Black History Month, giving children the opportunity to find out about Arthur Wharton. 

The Transport for London map was created in partnership with Black Cultural Archives in Brixton, which is the home of Black British History, conceived in 1981. It features a host of sportspeople, artists, trailblazers and community organisers.

The Central line has been dedicated to people in the arts, the Circle line to Georgians, the District line to ‘firsts and trailblazers’, the Jubilee line to LGBT+ people, the Metropolitan line to physicians, the Piccadilly line to performers, the Victoria line to the literary world and the Northern line to community organisers.

The Northern Echo:

Marcia Williams, Transport for London’s head of diversity, inclusion and talent, said: “Black people have played a significant role in all aspects of British life for thousands of years. From civil rights, art, and transport, to medicine and journalism.

“It is fantastic to see the true scale and breadth of this contribution commemorated on TfL’s iconic Tube map - a symbol so synonymous with London and the UK.”

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