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Lauren Elkanich

North Pole Promise

OPB | Feb. 4, 2014 2:27 p.m. | Updated: Feb. 4, 2014 3:28 p.m.

Program Description

North Pole Promise is a timeless story of two American explorers and their secret legacy left behind at the North Pole 100 years ago.  Admiral Robert E. Peary, and his associate Matthew Henson both fathered sons with Greenlandic Inuit (Eskimo) women during their attempts to reach the North Pole in 1906.  Peary and Henson last saw their young sons as 3-year-olds in 1909, after they successfully reached the North Pole and left Greenland never to return.

The boys played as childhood friends but circumstances separated them for decades. This film documents their reunion and addresses the inequity of how history remembers the two explorers. Peary was white. Henson was black.

Harvard Neurology Professor Dr. S. Allen Counter arranged for the two men to meet and, in a centennial celebration of the North Pole discovery, placed a capsule at the top of the earth that honors the Inuit descendants of both explorers.

Premiere

Released by NETA to public television April 1, 2013.

Production Notes

Narrated by James Earl Jones. Copyright 2012 Harvard Square Productions, Inc.

Press Materials

North Pole Promise Show Description
North Pole Promise: Anna Schoenfeld Bio
North Pole Promise: Dr. S. Allen Counter Bio
Soundtrack “Home” by Larry Jackson (link)

Images

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On a trip to Greenland, Harvard neurologist Dr. S. Allen Counter met Kali Peary and Anaukaq Henson, sons of North Pole explorers Admiral Robert Peary and Matthew Henson fathered with Inuit women in 1909.

Dr. S. Allen Counter

On a trip to Greenland, Harvard neurologist Dr. S. Allen Counter met Kali Peary and Anaukaq Henson, sons of North Pole explorers Admiral Robert Peary and Matthew Henson fathered with Inuit women in 1909.

Anna E. Schoenfeld has collaborated with Dr. S. Allen Counter as editor and cinematographer on five documentary productions that have aired on PBS.

Anna E. Schoenfeld

Anna E. Schoenfeld has collaborated with Dr. S. Allen Counter as editor and cinematographer on five documentary productions that have aired on PBS.

Dr. S. Allen Counter fulfilled a life-long dream for Anaukaq Henson and Kali Peary to visit their fathers' homeland and meet their extended family. Audrey Mebane is Matthew Henson's grand niece, and a cousin of Anaukaq Henson.

Courtesy Dr. S. Allen Counter

Dr. S. Allen Counter fulfilled a life-long dream for Anaukaq Henson and Kali Peary to visit their fathers' homeland and meet their extended family. Audrey Mebane is Matthew Henson's grand niece, and a cousin of Anaukaq Henson.

 

Anaukaq Henson at his father's grave

Dr. S. Allen Counter

Anaukaq Henson at his father's grave

 

Dr. S. Allen Counter requested that Matthew Henson's remains be given an equal place of honor beside Admiral Peary. President Ronald Regan honored the request.

Dr. S. Allen Counter

Dr. S. Allen Counter requested that Matthew Henson's remains be given an equal place of honor beside Admiral Peary. President Ronald Regan honored the request.

 

Dr. S. Allen Counter met descendants of Robert Peary and Matthew Henson in the town of Qaanaaq, Greenland, one of the northernmost settlements on earth.

Anna E. Shoenfeld

Dr. S. Allen Counter met descendants of Robert Peary and Matthew Henson in the town of Qaanaaq, Greenland, one of the northernmost settlements on earth.

 

 

 

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Contact Us

General Media Inquiries & Image Release:
Lauren Elkanich
Public Relations Manager
503.977.7751
lelkanich@opb.org

National Productions:
Kelsey Wallace
Marketing Associate
503.293.1933
kwallace@opb.org


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