South Dakota State News


CONTACT: Jeff Mammenga, Media Coordinator, 605-773-6000, [email protected]

‘Fighting the Good War’ State Historical Society History Conference ends March 15

PIERRE, SD—The South Dakota State Historical Society’s 2022 History Conference and Governor’s Awards for History will be held April 22-23 at the Pierre Ramkota Hotel and Convention Center. Both in-person and virtual participation options are available. Early bird registration ends March 15. Sign up and learn more at

“Fighting the Good War: South Dakotans in World War II,” brings together speakers from across the country and South Dakota to remember the human stories surrounding the so-called “good war” 80 years after the United States join the battle. Sessions will center on Marcella LeBeau, Kenny Higashi, John P. (“Pat”) Flynn, Doolittle Raider Don Smith, Governor Joe Foss, and the experiences of other men and women recorded by the South Dakota Oral History Center and Black Hills Veterans Oral History Project, as well as discussions of wartime artifacts in the collections of the South Dakota State Archives and the Center for Western Studies.

“World War II is one of the most defining events of the 20th century,” says Dr. Ben Jones, state historian and director of the State Historical Society. “Eighty years later, we can hear first-hand accounts through recorded oral histories, and we can explore artifacts held in archival collections to better understand the experiences of ordinary people who became soldiers, doctors, pilots, etc. to defend their nation and their way of life.

The Friday, April 22 conference reception at the Missouri Avenue Event Center will include a presentation by historian Dr. Kurt Hackemer on cartoon propaganda during World War II. The cartoons that colored American perceptions of Walt Disney’s war of tastes will be played. Attendees can also view artwork from two picture books, “American Ace: Joe Foss, Fighter Pilot” and “A Place for Harvest: The Story of Kenny Higashi,” published by the South Dakota Historical Society Press and newly available during the conference. Authors and illustrators will sign books during the event.

Registration for the conference can be found at People can attend in person or virtually, via Zoom. In-person registration includes access to conference sessions, vendors, the Saturday awards luncheon, and the Friday reception. Lunch and reception tickets can also be purchased separately. Virtual registration includes access to conference sessions via livestream. Early bird registration ends March 15.


About the South Dakota State Historical Society

The South Dakota State Historical Society is a division of the Department of Education. The State Historical Society, affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution since 2013, is headquartered at the South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre. The center houses the society’s world-class museum, archives, and offices for historic preservation, publishing, and administration/development. Call 605-773-3458 or visit for more information. The society also has an archeology office in Rapid City; call 605-394-1936 for more information.

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