I, Commander Robert Peary, will find the North Pole! It is not a dangerous place, it is full of riches! We will be the first to place the American flag at the top of the world! We cannot be stopped now!
April 21, 1895
M. Henson: Well, we DID travel the farthest distance today Commander, tomorrow we will go even farther! And Bartlett, you're supposed to SAVE your food.
Cmdr. Peary: We are never going to make it to the North Pole if we keep stopping!
R. Bartlett: I'm hungry! I knew we should have stayed at that Eskimo settlement Etah!
Cmdr Peary: Huh. I never thought of it that way before. Good man Matthew, tommorw we WILL reach the North Pole!
Matthew Henson was the first African American to travel to the North Pole. He had to leave his wife, Lucy, at home but was eager to go! He brought the only camera the traveling group had. During the expedition, some men in the group treated him unkindly. Due to his experience, Matthew was a changed man. Upon returning home, Matthew became quiet and distant from many people.
Ahhh! I hate dog sledding!
We are almost there!
Commander Robert Peary led the expedition to the North Pole. He chose Matthew because of his quick wit and knowledge of nature. Before he went, Commander Peary gave a speech that explained to everyone how they were going to conquer the "Roof of the World."
April 6, 1909
Commander Peary's main companions were Matthew Henson, Dr. Fredrick Cook, and Robert Bartlett. They had to stay in igloos or small caves on their journey and faced multiple obstacles of harsh weather, bodies of freezing water, and many doubts of ever reaching the North Pole. Matthew, however, always proved to be useful and tried his best to stay positive.
Matthew Henson was the first African American to travel to the North Pole. He was a protector of our culture, and showed the most kindness to our tribe than any of his other travelers.
Unfortunately, they had to turn back to Etah for supplies. The Eskimos there started seeing Matthew as a protector from foreigners, because of his respect for their culture. Peary sent Dr. Cook home for questioning his actions and decisions. Only Bartlett, Peary, and Henson remained of the original group. Two Eskimos then joined them as they continued their journey to find the Pole.
It's ok, Robert. We will be there soon.
Soon after leaving Etah, Henson, Peary, Bartlett and their crew reached the location 87o 45' North. Checking their maps, they found they had reached an approximate location relative to the North Pole. On April 6, 1909, they posed as a picture was taken of them holding the American and Eskimo flags using Matthew's camera.
During the expedition, some men in the group treated Matthew and the Eskimos unkindly. Due to their struggles, and Matthew's kindness towards them, Matthew's story is well remembered among the Eskimos. The Eskimos never forgot the day their flag accompanied the American's in the picture of claiming the North Pole.