Matt Helm

Student Historian

Matthew D. Helm grew up in the small town of Redfield, South Dakota.  After graduating from Redfield Public High School he joined the U.S. Marines.  After serving in Washington State he met his fiancée, Veronica and were afterwards married.  He was assigned to 3rd Battalion 7th Marines in Twenty-Nine Palms, California.  From there his unit was deployed to Kuwait, then Iraq.

After serving a tour in Iraq, he was honorably discharged from the Marines and began furthering his education at the University of Washington.  He is in his final year of his undergraduate studies and is presently applying for graduate school with the hopes of continuing his study in American history with a focus on the 19th century west.

Era Bell Thompson (1906-1986)

Image Ownership: Public Domain Era Bell Thompson was an author, editor and a pioneering female African American journalist.  She was born in Des Moines, Iowa.  When she was eight years old her family moved to North Dakota.  Her father worked various jobs including farmer, messenger … Read MoreEra Bell Thompson (1906-1986)

Kansas Freedman’s Relief Association (1879-1881)

Exodusters in West Topeka, Kansas, 1880 Image Ownership: Public Domain In response to the mass exodus from the south in 1879 and 1880, Kansas Governor and Quaker John St. John established the Kansas Freedman’s Relief Association (KFRA).  The Association was created in 1879 to “aid … Read MoreKansas Freedman’s Relief Association (1879-1881)

761st Tank Battalion (1942-45)

Able Company, 761st Tank Batalion Crossing the Seille River in France, Nov. 9, 1944 Image Courtesy of the U.S. Department of Defense The 761st Tank Battalion was formed in the spring of 1942 and was the first African American tank battalion to see combat in … Read More761st Tank Battalion (1942-45)

Bass Reeves (1838-1910)

Image Ownership: Public Domain Bass Reeves was the first African American commissioned to serve as a deputy marshal west of the Mississippi River.  Born a slave in Paris, Texas and owned by George Reeves, Bass Reeves grew up illiterate and remained illiterate for his entire … Read MoreBass Reeves (1838-1910)

Emancipation Proclamation (1863)

Image Ownership: Public Domain Following the Union Army victory at Antietam, Maryland on September 17, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issued a preliminary emancipation proclamation.  This document gave the states of the Confederacy until January 1, 1863 to lay down their arms and peaceably reenter the … Read MoreEmancipation Proclamation (1863)