Robert Peary is widely recognised as the first man to reach the north pole (a claim later disputed) but at his side was African-American Arctic explorer Mathew Henson. Henson accompanied Peary on numerous expeditions over an 18-year period. He was both a navigator and skilled craftsman, trading with the native Inuit peoples and ultimately learning to speak their language. Henson was the first American of African descent to be admitted to the fabled Explorer’s Club and received an honorary membership in 1948. While Peary’s accomplishments were widely praised, Henson was largely forgotten until 1988 when his remains and those of his wife were reinterred at Arlington National Cemetery by order of President Reagan.