Matthew Henson

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Matthew Henson in Arctic furs

Matthew Henson (18661955) was an American explorer who may have been the first to reach the Geographic North Pole with Robert Peary in 1909. However, some have estimated that Peary's party missed the pole by up to 30 km. Due to his being black and his status as Peary's employee, he never reached the same fame as Peary in an America where racist views were still common.

He wrote a book himself about his arctic exploration (A Negro Explorer at the North Pole) in 1912 and later in collaboration with Bradley Robinson his biography Dark Companion in 1947.

During their expeditions he and Peary fathered children with Inuit women, two of whom were discovered by S. Allen Counter in a Greenland expedition when they were in their eighties.

On April 6, 1988 Henson was reinterred in Arlington National Cemetery near Peary's monument.

Matthew Henson is the great-grand nephew of Josiah Henson, a famous fugitive slave.

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