Leslie was selected to play for England in 1925, according to the National Football Museum, but the call was later canceled.
“It simply came to our notice then. People in the city [Plymouth] he was very upset. No one ever told me officially, but that had to be the reason. my mom was english, but my dad was black as “bass bit”.
“There was no other reason to take my cap.”
If he played internationally, Leslie, who was originally from Jamaica, would be England’s first black footballer.
Instead, Viv Anderson won the title in 1978 – more than half a century after Leslie’s debut.
Leslie died in 1988 after scoring 137 goals in 401 appearances for Argyle, who had just won promotion to the third tier of English football between 1924 and 1931.
The campaign to build the statue has so far raised more than .000 25,000 ($ 31,000) and is backed by the English Football Association and Luke Pollard, a Member of Parliament for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport.
“Jack Leslie was supposed to be the first black player to appear in a shirt in England, but he fell when he was chosen because of the color of his skin,” Pollard wrote on Twitter.
“I support the campaign for a statue in #plymouth to remember one of καλύτε Only1Argyle’s best players.”
The campaign hopes to place a statue outside Home Park, Plymouth Argyle Stadium. If the goal of raising money is exceeded, an educational element will be added to the campaign.
“Stories like these are incredibly sad,” FA President Greg Clark said in a statement.
“Discrimination in the game, in any form or at any time, is unacceptable. We must always remember pioneers like Jack Leslie and be grateful that football is in a very different place today.
“We are very pleased to be supporting this campaign, which we hope will ensure that Jack’s career is properly recognized.
“We have taken great strides in recent years to ensure that English football is different and without exclusions. We can see through the representation of players and staff throughout our national development and senior teams that English football has made great progress, but we know that there is more to be done in the game both on and off the field.
“We remain committed to removing discrimination from football and ensuring that it better reflects the communities that monitor, support and love the game.”
Some famous black footballers have already celebrated with statues in the United Kingdom, including former West Brom players Brendon Batson, Laurie Cunningham and Cyrille Regis.
There is also a special statue of Cunningham, who died in a car accident in 1989 at the age of 33, near his hometown of Leyton Orient in London. Cunningham made his professional debut for the Orient.