Walter Tull (1888-1918) was born in Kent, England to a father who was the son of slaves from Barbados and a Kent-born woman. Both parents died by the time he was nine and he and his brother were sent to an orphanage. While there, Tull started playing soccer and became a professional player by 1909. He was only the second person of color to play soccer professionally.
In 1914 he volunteered for the Army. He proved himself to be a wonderful soldier and was quickly promoted. He became the first black combat officer in the British Army. He was also the first black officer to lead white British troops into Battle. In 2014, the British Royal Mint released commemorative coins celebrating his achievements as a combat officer and for the ultimate sacrifice of his life in the line of duty in 1918.
Mixed Experience History Month is the annual blog post series created by The New York Times best-selling author Heidi Durrow celebrating the history of the Mixed experience. Established in 2007, Mixed Experience History Month is an effort to highlight the long history of folks and events involved in the Mixed experience. Please look for archived profiles of people, places and events of the Mixed experience every weekday of May! Thanks for reading. And check out some of the previous year’s profiles: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015.