Matthew Henson was an African American explorer who participated in numerous expeditions with Lt. Robert Peary. Henson met Peary while working on the East Coast and agreed to be his valet on an expedition to Nicaragua. During the trip, Henson demonstrated abilities that proved invaluable. Peary asked Henson to join him in his quest to reach the North Pole.
During each expedition, Henson acquired additional skills from the Inuit people. He taught the other expedition members how to build sleds and work with the dogs. On April 7, 1909, Henson was the first individual to reach the North Pole. It took several decades for his achievement to be recognized.
Henson’s grave is marked by a polished black granite headstone that has an inlaid plaque. The plaque depicts a portrait of Henson in arctic attire and an image of the expedition at the North Pole.