Barbara Hillary, First African-American Woman to Reach North Pole, Will Speak at Atheist Convention

The American Atheists’ 2014 Convention already features LGBT activist and NFL punter Chris Kluwe, Survivor: Philippines winner Denise Stapley, and Spin Doctors bass player Mark White:

Today, they’re adding two more exciting names to their slate:

The first is atheist Juan Mendez (below), the Democratic State Representative from Tempe, Arizona who delivered a godless invocation on the House floor back in May, much to a few of his colleagues’ chagrin.

The second is atheist Barbara Hillary.

Who’s Barbara Hillary? I wondered the same thing. And once I looked her up, I was amazed that I had never heard of her before. She’s incredible:

She’s the first African-American woman to reach the North Pole — a feat she accomplished at age 75 — and the first to reach both the North and South Poles!

The New Yorker published a short article about her in 2007:

The North Pole trek, which Hillary intends to undertake with an outfit from Georgia called Eagles Cry Adventures, will require of its participants, once they’ve been deposited on a moving ice floe by an MI-8 helicopter, eight to ten hours of skiing on three consecutive days. To prepare, Hillary has been engaging in what she calls “preventative maintenance.” She tried lugging a loaded-up plastic sled on the beach, but the sand shredded the bottom. Now she has settled on a regimen of increased vegetable consumption, vitamin intake, and treadmill-and-weight-lifting sessions at Cyberzone. (She used to box at a gym called Irish Ropes, but it closed.) She has been skiing at some slopes in New Jersey. There is nothing she’s afraid of, she said, except religious people.

Awesome :)

The convention takes place April 17-20 in Salt Lake City, Utah and registration is now open.

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