Matthew Alexander Henson August 8, 1866 - March 9, 1955
Imagine being on a dangerous mission and barely surviving. Now imagine you are striving to reach a destination that has never been reached before. Matthew Henson, Robert Edwin Peary and a few Eskimos found themselves in that position over 100 years ago. This brave explorer, Henson, is a co-discoverer of the North Pole. Originally from Charles County, Maryland, Henson first started exploring in 1891.
Henson joined a group of explorers for an 1891 expedition in Greenland as chauffeur. Henson embraced local Eskimo culture on this trip, including the language. By the end of the expedition, Henson was the only remaining member of Peary's group. Peary planned a more elaborate expedition in 1895, Henson joined, this time their plan was to chart the entire polar ice cap. Meteorites were gathered by Henson and Peary on this exploration. They later sold them to the American Museum of Natural History.
Finally in 1909 Henson and Peary along with four Eskimos became the first people to reach the North Pole. In 1912 Henson published his memoirs from these Arctic explorations entitled, "A Negro Explorer At The North Pole.