Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Black History Month: North Pole Navigator

North Pole Navigator: Matthew Henson
Matthew Henson

Matthew Henson, an indispensable team member on the expedition to reach the North Pole, served as an interpreter (he spoke the Eskimo language), navigator, and fellow guide to Commander Robert Peary. Mr. Henson’s relationship with Admiral Peary began in 1887, when he and Peary went to Nicaragua to do canal work. Even though Peary is credited with being the first person to discover the North Pole, Mr. Henson actually reached the pole 45 minutes before Peary did (p. 155).
Mr. Henson wrote the book A Black Explorer at the North Pole in 1912, and in it he detailed his experiences of going to the North Pole. Though not given the honor he was due during his lifetime or at the time of his death in 1955, Mr. Henson was reburied at Arlington National Cemetery in 1988 (p. 156).
Asante, M.K. (2002). 100 Greatest African Americans: A Biographical Encyclopedia. New York: Prometheus Books. pp. 155-156.

A Final Resting Place for Matthew Henson. (1988, July). Ebony. 43(9).

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