Henson, Matthew Alexander, 1866–1965, African-American arctic explorer, b. Charles County, Md. He accompanied Robert E. Peary as personal assistant, dog driver, and interpreter on numerous expeditions to the Arctic between 1891 and 1909. On Apr. 6, 1909, Henson, Peary, and four Eskimos are generally credited with having been the first expedition to reach the North Pole. Henson later was (1913–36) a clerk in the U.S. Customs House in New York City.
See his A Negro Explorer at the North Pole (1912); S. A. Counter, North Pole Legacy (1991).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.