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Tue, 04.06.1909

A Black Man Becomes The First To Reach The North Pole

Matthew Henson

On this date in 1909, Matthew Henson, a Black man, became the first man to reach the North Pole.

Henson, a black explorer and adventurer began the journey with Admiral Robert E. Peary from Camp Sheridan in Greenland in February of that year. By April, they were near exhaustion and blinded by snow glare, but only 60 miles from their goal. Despite the adversity, Henson, an expert in handling equipment, dog sleds, and communicating with Eskimos, went forth and became the first man to reach the North Pole.

In 2000, the National Geographic Society posthumously awarded Henson with its highest honor, the Hubbard Medal, for distinction in exploration, discovery, and research.

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