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Matthew Henson was the exploration partner of Robert Peary who help make the famous first trip to the north pole back in the early part of the 20th century. Mr. Henson was a skilled dog sled driver and may have been the first man to reach the geographic destination back in 1909 but Robert Peary was widely accredited for the feat. The African American Explorer would eventually move to Harlem at the Dunbar Apartments at 149th Street between 7th and 8th Avenue until he passed away in 1955.


ON April 6, 1909................Matthew Henson reached the North Pole. Traveling with the Admiral Peary Expedition, Henson, with his exceptional navigational skills managed to reach the North Pole almost 45 minutes before Peary and the rest of the men.


In April 1909, Admiral Robert Peary and his team (pictured here), including Inuits Ooqeah, Ooatah, Egingwah, and Seeglo and fellow American Matthew Henson, became the first explorers to reach what they believed to be the North Pole. Later studies found that Peary was actually 30 to 60 miles (50 to 100 kilometers) short of the Pole.

from Beyond the Edge

The Legacy of Arctic Explorer Matthew Henson


Hensen & Peary often recognised as first to North Pole April 9, 1909, though controversy whether they were first or made it at all . Hensen was african american and Peary initially received most of the glory as leader and first white man! There were also four Innuit helpers -Ootah, Seegloo, Egingway, and Ooqueah ). Matthew Henson was only twelve when he walked from his home in Washington, D.C. to Baltimore, Maryland to get a job as a cabin boy on the three-masted merchant ship Katie Hines