Two weeks from today, I will be on the way to Santiago, Chile and then Punta Arenas, Chile, where I fly to Antarctica! I'm most excited to see penguins, since my father was "volunteered" by the U.S. Navy and the Smithsonian, to catch them for science, with his bear hands. I want to imagine, from being with them, how one would go about it. Thankfully, I won't have to do that! I've heard that it's illegal to touch the wildlife in Antarctica. However, I've seen pictures where they come and snuggle on your feet. So much has changed for penguins, since 1940.
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.