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Celebrating Emma Clarke, Britain’s First Black Female Football Pioneer

8 October 2018

Celebrating Emma Clarke, Britain’s First Black Female Football Pioneer

Join Women in Football co-founder Anna Kessel at a special event to celebrate the inspirational Emma Clarke.

Emma Clarke is the greatest black female footballer you’ve never heard of. Playing in 1895, a contemporary of the world’s first black professional footballer, Arthur Wharton, remarkably Emma’s story only came to light in 2017.

To celebrate Black History Month 2018, and hosted by the Royal Society of Arts, a stellar panel including broadcaster and author Emma Dabiri, Grenfell campaigner and Tottenham Hotspur Ladies footballer Eartha Pond, plus Gal-Dem deputy editor Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff will explore what hidden histories such as Emma’s can teach us about a multiracial society in Britain.

Actor Tanya Loretta Dee brings Emma Clarke’s story to life with a live performance from Hollie McNish and Sabrina Mahfouz’s acclaimed hit play ‘Offside’.

This not-to-be-missed event, which has free admission, will be held on Tuesday 30 October from 6.30pm - 7.45pm at Great Room, The RSA, 8 John Adam Street, London, WC2N 6EZ.

Emma’s status as a professional footballer, in one of Britain’s earliest women’s football matches in 1895 attended by thousands of paying spectators, is hugely significant. That she travelled the country, accompanied by widespread media coverage, demonstrates the profile she would have enjoyed in the 1890s. But while her male contemporaries are championed as global icons with statues, TV dramas and fame, Emma’s life slipped into obscurity.

The pioneers of women’s sport remain almost invisible in the public landscape:

  • Less than 1% of sporting statues in the UK are of named individual sportswomen (Source: The Sporting Statues Project)
  • There are no sporting statues of women of colour or Paralympians
  • Only two sportswomen are celebrated as part of English Heritage’s Blue Plaque scheme

One of the aims of this event is to share Emma’s story more widely with schools, football governing bodies, policy makers and academic institutions in the hope of creating a greater platform for her history.

This unique event, co-curated by sports diversity consultant and activist Michelle Moore and sports writer and Women in Football co-founder Anna Kessel MBE, is funded by The Fare network and is part of the #FootballPeople action weeks - a global campaign to tackle discrimination and celebrate diversity in football.

This event, which is supported by The Runnymede Trust, Women in Football and the Blue Plaque Rebellion, starts promptly at 6.30pm. The panel discussion will close at 7.45pm and is followed by an opportunity to meet the speakers and continue the conversation.

Book your tickets for this event by clicking on the link here.

 

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