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Posted May 27, 2009
In a time when the race to be the first to reach the North Pole was as daunting as flying to the moon, Matthew Henson was at the forefront of the most historic quest of his time.
Being born black though, Matthew was not in the news for his accomplishments. No, it was Admiral Robert E. Peary that received all the praise and glory for the adventures. Matthew became a master of the seas at a young age, but due to his color, not his skill, he could not advance very far. It was a chance encounter at a clothing store - Matthew as the clerk, Peary as the shopper - that led Matthew all the way to the North Pole.
The team of Henson and Peary didn't begin in Greenland. It first began in the jungles of Nicaragua. Peary was off to survey the best place to build a canal connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. After their time in the jungle, Peary shared his desire to cross Greenland's ice cap. From there, history was to be made.
Told as well as any modern-day adventure tale, ARCTIC EXPLORER has the added bonus of being a true story. It was almost 30 years after reaching the North Pole that Matthew Henson finally got the recognition for his contributions in reaching the desolate location. In truth, Peary would never have made it without Henson's capable perseverance.
In today's society, it would be without question that such a person would receive their rightful praise. But in the time of Matthew's travels, it was unheard of. Today's generation is now able to learn what a self-taught man by the name of Matthew Henson was able to accomplish.