What famous explorer is actress Tarji P. Henson related to?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The last name of the actress, in addition to her ethnicity, is a major clue here.  She says that she is related to Matthew Henson, the most famous African American explorer.  Matthew Henson is known for having been associated with Admiral Robert E. Peary.  Peary was a polar explorer who is the man who was long credited with having discovered the North Pole in 1909.

Today, historians tend to give as much credit for the discovery to Matthew Henson.  Henson was generally not given credit for his important role in the Peary expedition because of his ethnicity.  Today, people have become more willing to give him his due.  He is considered by some to have been the first person to have reached the North Pole, though it is not known for certain whether he or Peary was the first to actually set foot on the spot.

The actress Taraji Henson says that her great-great-grandfather was Matthew Henson’s brother.  Henson himself had no children in the United States, though he did have a child with an Inuit woman.

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