Emma Clarke (1876 – ?)
Britain’s first black female footballer, Emma Clarke, was born in Liverpool in 1876. A confectioner’s apprentice, she likely grew up playing football on the streets of Bootle, not far from where another famous figure from the women’s game – Mrs Graham – also lived.
Emma made her British Ladies team debut in 1895, at a match in Crouch End attended by 11,000 spectators. She later went on to tour Scotland with Mrs Graham’s XI. The historian and artist Stuart Gibbs, who only recently discovered Emma’s story, says Emma may have also played football with her sisters Jane and Mary.
Read Anna Kessel’s article about Emma Clarke in the Guardian newspaper here.