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School Named after Black American Antarctic Explorer George W. Gibbs Jr.
The first black explorer to set foot on the Antarctic ice shelf garnered a posthumous honor August 5, when the school board of Rochester, Minnesota, confirmed the name of the George W. Gibbs Jr. Elementary School.
George Washington Gibbs Jr. was born on Nov. 7, 1916, in Jacksonville, Florida. He was also raised in that port city and many years of his life were connected with service at sea.
Enlisting in Macon, Georgia, in 1935, four years later Gibbs was chosen from of hundreds of applicants for the 1939-41 US Antarctic Expedition. Serving as a Mess Attendant 1st Class aboard the Bear, Gibbs attracted official attention before the ship ever departed American shores:
Especially commended by the Commanding Officer at meritorious mast for his zeal, initiative, and untiring industry, entailing much personal sacrifice, during the period the U.S.S. BEAR was outfitting and preparing for duty with the U.S. Antarctic Service.
On the morning of Jan. 14, 1940, the Bear dropped anchor in the Bay of Whales