|1991 original edition.
Legacy: Black White & Eskimo
by S. Allen Counter, Ph.D.
discovered the descendants of both Matt and Peary among the Northern
Greenland Eskimos. Yes, Matt and Peary both had Eskimo sons! Counter
brought them to the United States to visit their American relatives.
An amazing discovery, a wonderful story - Counter has a big heart
for Matt Henson! An overview of
the book is available at his personal website at Harvard. This
site has a special page devoted to Allen Counter.
I just heard this book's author on the radio, and was so impressed
by him. He's a Harvard professor who got interested in the story of
Matthew Henson, a black man who explored the Arctic and discovered
the North Pole along with Robert Peary. The professor, Dr. Counter,
has gone to the Arctic several times now, and has befriended the
sons and grandsons of both Henson and Peary. Before Dr. Counter,
nobody in the US even knew that these explorers had fathered
children up there. And Dr. Counter has done a lot to get Henson
recognition here in the States, where institutionalized racism has
minimized his role in history.
highly significant book honoring the great arctic legend
is one of the happiest endings you will ever read that really happened!
Negro explorer/assistant to commander Peary, Matt Henson, left behind
an Eskimo son as did Peary himself after they reached the North
Pole. Back in the civilized world Negro Henson lived in obscurity
while white man Peary claimed the Gold medals. But Peary died in
1920 and Matt Henson became a favorite member of the New York Explorers
club. After WW2 his biography started the process of awareness concerning
his invaluable role with Peary. Determined as the rightful co-discoverer
of the North Pole his honors have come late. He received the Navy
medal and visited Eisenhower in the White House just before his
death in 1955.
This book by Dr. Allen Counter is a celebration of the reunion he
made of the Peary and Henson Eskimos with their American relatives
after 80 years of separation. The author had Henson reinterred at
Arlington National Cemetery, next to Peary's grave, with full military
honors. Henson's American and Eskimo families were present. Later
Counter worked to have a Naval ship, the USNS Henson, named for
this amazing man who the Eskimos called "Matthew the Kind one."
Counter's book is full of family discoveries & reunion, hope,
inspiration and charm. His work for Henson continues today as he
encourages the best and brightest of Hollywood to make a film worthy
1991 by The University of Massachusetts Press ISBN 0-87023-736-5
(cloth); 842-6 (paper)