A heartfelt thanks to all the contributors to We are All Antarctica!
I'm learning the balancing act between the focus on the content and meaning of the project, while asking for gifts to make it happen. I began my research in 2002, at the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State University. What strikes me about Admiral Richard E. Byrd is the complexity of what he did.
The content: to fly over the South Pole, to study the ice, to claim new territory for the U.S.A. The process: to obtain plenty of funds to make the expedition happen successfully, to get corporate sponsorships, to get media coverage. All in an era without fax, email and internet!
Although Admiral Byrd is a controversial subject, I learn tons from his presence on the planet!
He lived from 1888 to 1957.
We are All Antarctica is a story about my father George W. Gibbs, Jr’s adventures as the first person of African descent to set foot on the continent of Antarctica. He sailed on the famous ship the USS Bear in 1939 to 1941 on Admiral Byrd’s III expedition to the South Pole. It was the first joint venture with the US military and private exploration. Gibbs went on to serve humanity in countless ways, paving the way for not only people of color in the community of Rochester, MN but for all people to become more human, serve their community and appreciate differences.
Through compassion, tenacity, faith and countless hours in the trenches, Gibbs’ life is a model for community service, equality and fun. As the lowest rank on the ship, he was honored for his contribution at a time when people with dark skin were considered less than human.
This story integrates my experiences with natural healing, the arts, the science of the ice, the metaphysics of the South Pole and the history of the expedition and its mystery.