I'm preparing to speak to Gibbs Elementary first graders this morning. I've been thinking about the Antarctic Treaty and it's importance on the world's stage. I didn't realize that since 1993, the Antartic Treaty bans dogs.
According to USA Today, "This action
was taken because of evidence that the canine disease distemper was spreading
to Antarctica’s seals." There may be other reasons not stated, but expeditions with dogs are a thing of the past. George W Gibbs, Jr., spoke fondly of the dogs and the dog drivers on his trip. They were essential to pull gear and help f ind crevasses for the ice party. We chose the picture ( at the top of this blog) of my father with dogs for this reason.
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.