Charles Madison Crenchaw was the first African American to summit Denali, the highest mountain peak in North America, on July 9, 1964. He was one of a team of 15 people led by Alvin E. Randall, all part of the Seattle Mountaineers.
Along with being part of the historic 1964 McKinley Expedition, Crenchaw worked for the Boeing Aircraft Company in Seattle in quality control for several key components of the Apollo Space Program. This was a job he obtained after attending Morehouse College under the GI Bill, then the University of Chicago Graduate School of Engineering. While in the military during World War II, Crenchaw worked as a flight engineer in charge of maintenance for airplanes flown by the Tuskegee Airmen.
- Crenchaw, Charles. 1965. “Master McKinley.” Mountaineers Annual. 1965: 61.
- Ciari, Kristina. “Charles Crenchaw: The First African American to Climb Denali.” The Mountaineers Blog. The Mountaineers.