Mathew Henson and Robert Peary wanted to be the first people to reach the North Pole. Their dream came true on April 6, 1909.
Henson was born in Maryland in 1866, right after the Civil War. Because he was an African American, he faced racism for most of his life. Soon after Peary returned from an expedition to Nicaragua, he asked Henson to be part of his expedition to the North Pole.
This expedition would lead them to Greenland’s Arctic area. Explorer Frederick Cook also was on their team.
By the time Henson and Peary reached the sea in February, their supplies were low. As they ran out, they gradually sent team members back to the camp, including Cook. Cook later claimed to have beaten Peary’s team to the North Pole on a separate expedition, but most historians think this is untrue.
Finally, only six of them were left: Peary, Henson, and four Inuit men. On April 6, 1909, these six reached the North Pole.
Peary grew famous for reaching the North Pole. Henson wrote a book about the expedition called
A Negro Explorer at the North Pole
. He died in 1955, 46 years after they reached the North Pole.
Discover the Life of an American legend: Mathew Henson