Matthew Henson’s destiny was set when he met naval officer Robert Edwin Peary, in 1887. An African American son of poor farmers, Henson shared Peary’s desire to be the first person to reach the North Pole. In 1909, the men set out one one of their many voyages together. They battled sub-zero temperatures, deadly ice formations, and bone-chilling winds. Many times it was Henson who saved the expedition with his knowledge of Inuit language and culture. But when the men finally achieved their goal, few people believed them. Worse still, because Henson was black, he was seen as nothing more than Peary’s manservant.
This exceptional biography from noted author and educator Dolores Johnson tells the full story of Henson’s extraordinary life, from his humble and self-taught beginnings, to his proper recognition as Peary’s equal.