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Dosan Spirit Returns to America;
To know Dosan is to know ourselves


November 9, 1878
Born on a farm on Dorong Island on Dae Dong River in Pyongan-namdo, young Ahn Chang Ho studied Chinese classics. The year he turned 16, he witnessed the Sino-Japanese war in the streets of Pyongyang. Walking through the ruined city, young Ahn Chang Ho realized that the people's strength provided the nation's strength. He went to Seoul for modern education.

He attended Rev. Miller's Missionary School for 3 years and he joined the Independence Association which Suh Jae Pil had founded. Young Ahn Chang Ho established a branch in Pyongyang and engaged in the Independence Association activities, becoming a well-known young orator.

Ahn Chang Ho turned his attention to the field of education, establishing Jom Jin Elementary School, the first co-educational school in Korean history. At age 24, he and his wife, Helen Ahn, left for an education in America, recognizing the need for his own development.

On the steamship to San Francisco, Ahn Chang Ho saw the Hawaiian Islands soar above the horizon. He gave himself a pen name Dosan, (Island Mountain) with a resolve that he would bring his countrymen hope.

An incident in San Francisco interrupted Dosan's plans for his own education. He saw two Korean ginseng merchants fighting against each other. With a crowd of Americans watching, Dosan stopped the fight. Helping his countrymen was more urgent than his own education, he felt, and he gave up his schooling.

"Pick every orange as though our nation's independence depends on it," he exhorted his fellow countrymen in Riverside. He showed them how to do it; he did it himself. He showed honesty and integrity and he organized Kongnip Hyophoe in 1905 to protect the rights of his countrymen while publishing Kongnip Shinbo. (Kongnip Hyophoe developed into Korean National Association, or Kungminhoe, and organization which served the Koreans worldwide.

In 1907 Dosan returned to Korea and organized Shinminhoe, (The New People's Association) the instrument for the independence movement. He also founded DaeSung School in order to develop future leader for the independence movement. He returned to America in 1911. In 1913 he founded Hung Sa Dahn. (Young Korean Academy)

He went to Shanghai in 1919 to serve the Provisional Government of Korea. He was arrested in Shanghai in 1932 and he was transferred to his homeland for a trial. He was sentenced to a 4-year prison term. He was released but he was arrested again. He passed away in 1938. His legacy lives on here in America 63 years after he passed away.

(The City of Riverside S.K.)

Riverside--the city Dosan and his family called home from 1904 to 1913.

From the sister city relationship between Riverside and Gangnam, Seoul, Korea, many discussions followed on the subject of the statue. The Inland Korean American Association initiated the organization of the Dosan Ahn Chang Ho Memorial Foundation of Riverside, followed by the registration of the Foundation with the State of California, and establishing the non-profit status. Its first project was the Dosan Memorial statue installation.

What is the point of resurrecting the man who had left the world 63 years ago?

(The interview with Mike Hong)

Riverside Park, S.K.

It wasn't only the Korean Americans who were interested in the Dosan Statue Installation. Hon. Mayor Loveridge proposed that the City Mall become the "International Plaza." The City became interested in Dosan because he had lived there. The Dosan statue then found its place about three feet away from Dr. Martin Luther King's statue. Then why did they become interested in Dosan, a man from a small Asian nation?

(Interview with Vincent Moses)

(The groundbreaking ceremony for the statue)

Finally, it is Aug 3, 2000. The first shovel of dirt flew in the air in front of the city hall. Susan Ahn, Young-hoon Kang of Dosan Memorial Foundation, Mayor Loveridge, Councilman Chuck Beatty, Mr. Young Jung Paik of Hung Sa Dahn, Mr. Jung-rip Sohn of Inland Korean American Association and Mike Hong, the Chairman of Riverside Dosan Memorial Foundation. About 100 guests participated in the groundbreaking ceremony.

The total budget was estimated at $550,000. The fundraising kicked off at the Consulate General's residence in Los Angeles on August 4, 2000.

August 19, 2000!

Music concert fundraiser with Southern California Musicians Guild participatingˇ¦

The Foundation made numerous fundraising trips to Korea. One of the trips included Susan Ahn and a meeting with the Korean President Kim Dae Jung, resulting in a $100,000 donation from the Korean government.

(Fundraising Images)

But the most important element was the warm, enthusiastic response from the Korean American community. From young children to the elderly, people took around special collection boxes, collecting $5, $10 at a time. These small contributions plus others added up to $550,000 in ten months.

(Preparing the grounds)

In the meantime, the sculptor and the landscape architect were selected and they began the work in earnest. The ground preparations began at the City Mall with the construction equipment roaring.

(San Diego)

At the same time the artists were busy with the preparation work at the studio in San Diego.

(Pouring the molten bronze at the casting shop)

In the beginning of the project, they had to overcome a lot of difficulties.

(The sculptor working on the statue's face)

The biggest question was the pose for Dosan, having to choose from the myriad images and the identities he represented as the pioneer, orange picker, educator, and patriot. It took a long time to resolve this question.

(Landscape Work)

Fortunately the landscape work proceeded more smoothely.

(The finishing touch)

In the end the artist chose the image of Dosan the educator. In order to pass on the legacy to the future generations, the educator's image was the most appropriate.

(Quick shot of the assistant)

From this point on, it was a race against time to meet the deadline.

(Installation scene)
Finally August 2, 2001. Dosan's statue makes its first appearance in front of the City Hall with news reporters and Dosan Memorial committee members looking on.

(On the pedestal)

The historical moment. First Korean honored with a statue on American soil.

(Committee members applauding)

A year of extraordinary efforts comes to an end.

(Interview with Susan Ahn)


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