Matthew Alexander Henson (b. August 8, 1866, Nanjemoy, MD, – d. March 9, 1955, The Bronx, New York) was the first African-American Arctic explorer and an associate of Robert Peary on seven voyages over a period of nearly 23 years. Henson served as a navigator and craftsman, traded with Inuit and learned their language, and was known as Peary's "first man" for these arduous travels.
During the 1909 expedition to Greenland, Henson accompanied Peary in the small party, including four Inuit men, that has been recognized as the first to reach the Geographic North Pole. 1937 Henson was invited as a member of The Explorers Club, the first African American to be accepted.
Henson published his memoir, A Negro Explorer at the North Pole (1912), which included a foreword and praise by Peary. The remains of Henson and his wife were reinterred with a monument at Arlington National Cemetery, near that for Peary and his wife in 1988 by a presidential order. Henson has received numerous posthumous honors since then.