Matthew Henson

By: Jamiya Lewis

The inside of Mathew Henson's life

American explorer Matthew Alexander Henson was born on August 8, 1866, in Charles County, Maryland. The son of two freeborn black sharecroppers, Henson lost his mother at an early age. When Henson was 4 years old, his father moved the family to Washington, D.C., in search for work opportunities. His father died there, leaving Henson and his siblings in the care of relatives.
Henson ran away from home at age 11, and was taken in by a woman who lived near his home. At age 12, he left to work as a cabin boy on a ship. Over the next six years and under the mentorship of Captain Childs, Henson learned literacy and navigation skills.
After Captain Childs died, Henson returned to Washington, D.C. and worked as a store clerk for a furrier. It was there that he met Robert Edwin Peary, an explorer and officer in the U.S. Navy Corps of Civil Engineers. On the recommendation of the store owner, Peary hired Henson as his valet for his travel expeditions.

  • OCCUPATION: Explorer
  • BIRTH DATE: August 08, 1866
  • DEATH DATE: March 09, 1955
  • PLACE OF BIRTH: Charles County,Maryland
  • PLACE OF DEATH: New York, New York
  • FULL NAME: Matthew Alexander Henson
  • SCHOOL: He didn't go to school the "skipper" taught him how to read,write &for college he went to Harvard University




Publications by Matthew Henson.

  • "A negro explorer at the North Pole"
  • "Arctic Explorer
  • "Garden of Praise"


What is he famous for and his contribution to science?

Known/ Famous for: Matthew Henson was an African American explorer best known as the co-discoverer of the North Pole with Robert Edwin Peary in 1909.


Contribution to science: going all the way to the north pole and finding out what kind of animals lived there and ETC

Matthew Henson Black History Moment