1909 — Matthew Henson becomes the first explorer to reach the North Pole

The most trusted of Robert Peary’s fellow polar explorers, Henson was a member of Peary’s party when they became the first people to reach the geographic North Pole. Henson was the very first – they actually overshot the target on their first attempt, but upon doubling back later that day, they could see from Henson’s footprints that he had been the first to arrive at their destination.

Henson was also the man who planted the flag of the USA at the Pole – and the polar expedition was but one of six similar expeditions that he and Peary embarked upon over the course of about 18 years. Henson was later honoured by being inducted into the Explorer’s Club in 1937, the first negro ever to join the club. Henson’s remains are interred in a place of honour in Arlington National Cemetery.

Referenced in:

Black Man — Stevie Wonder

1909 – Errol Flynn is born

Errol Leslie Thomson Flynn was born in Hobart, Tasmania. His parents were Theodore Thomson Flynn, a professor of biology at the University of Tasmania; and Lily Mary Young, later Marelle Flynn. They had married in Balmain North, Sydney, on 23 January 1909 – which implies a little about their motivations for marriage.

That said, there is no reason to think that Flynn was unloved as a child (or at least, not unloved by the standards of his time and culture). He later attended school with future Australian Prime Minister John Gorton, who would also become a notorious larrikin.

Referenced in:

Errol – Australian Crawl