Life of Dosan Ahn Chang Ho

Dosan's birthplace | Torong Island in Pyongyang across from Moranbong

1903 | Dosan in San Francisco when he was 25 years old. He founded the Friendship Society (Chinmoke Hoe 친목회) in 1903. 

Riverside, CA | Dosan came to Riverside in 1904 after organizing the first Korean community in San Francisco, where he formed the Chinmokhoe-Friendship Society. This picture is Dosan, Helen Ahn, and Philip Ahn with the Korean National Association at the Pachappa Labor Camp in Riverside. Pachappa was a Chinese railroad workers compound taken over by Koreans in 1905. A few years later in 1913, there was a deep freeze in Southern California damaging the regional agriculture industry. There was no work for Koreans in the orchards, so many moved to Los Angeles. Dosan moved to L.A. ending up in the house where his daughter, Susan Ahn Cuddy, was born at 1411 West Fourth Street off Lucas, two blocks from the Good Samaritan Hospital. 

The Ahn Family in Los Angeles, 1917 | They were the first Korean family to have all their kids born in the U.S. Philip was born in HIghland Park; Philson was born in Riverside; Susan, Soorah, and Pilyoung were born in Los Angeles. This is the first Korean American family. 

Korean Provisional Government in Shanghai, 1919

Young Korean Academy in Los Angeles, 1924

February 1935 | Dosan leaving Daejon train station after being released from 3 and a half years in prison. He would be arrested again in a couple years. 

Dosan's Sodaemun prison picture in 1937 | Dosan was arrested in Seoul by the Japanese for violating the Preservation of Peace Law. He was sentenced to prison and released to Seoul National Hospital in December due to failing health. The Japanese did not want Dosan to die in Sodaemun prison fearing it would spark Koreans into patriotic anti-Japanese activty. Dosan looks exhausted from his lifelong painful fight for independence. 

January 6, 2012 | Dosan was inducted to the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta, Georgia. Dosan is the first Asian from the Far East to be inducted. He is being recognized for his contributions to improve society throughout his life by fighting for human and civil rights during the end of Choson Dynasty Korean feudalism and the Japanese Occupation of Korea in the early 20th century. His work in America with immigration and labor issues for Koreans is also recognized. His efforts reflect the same spirit as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi. There are many great humanitarians recognized at the Walk of Fame for their fight for justice and equality for all.

Dosan and two other teaching assistants at Kusae Haktang 구세학당 in Seoul in 1896. Kusae eventually became Yonsei University. 

Dosan, Yang Choo In, and Song Jong Ik are some of the Koreans who officially started the Mutual Assistance Society (Kongnip Hyophoe 공립협회) on April 5, 1905. Later, the MAS merged with the United Korean Society (Hapsong Hyophoe 합성협회) in Hawaii to become the Korean National Association (Kungminhoe) in 1909, the official agent of Koreans in the United States until the end of World War II.

Dosan in Alta Cuesta Orchard (Riverside, CA in 1911)

1917 Mexico | Dosan was President of the Central Congress of the Korean National Association (KNA). He was in charge of nearly all Korean Independence Movement activities at this time. Pak Yong Man was the Vice President. Dosan went to Mexico where this was taken with the KNA leaders. Just like all KNA communities, a large portion of their income was donated to the Independence Movement - even the slave work wages ended up in the fight to free Korea (The 1905 immigration scam sent Koreans into slavery in Mexico). From left to right: Mary Im, Dosan, unidentified, Kim Ki Chang

From the 1920's | Dosan Ahn Chang Ho and Yi Hye Ryon (Helen Lee) in Los Angeles. They were the first married couple to come to the U.S. from Korea. Their passports were numbers 51 and 52. They arrived in San Francisco on October 12, 1902. They are one of the most influential couples to lead social reform of Korea and the fight for freedom from the Japanese Imperialists. 

1926 San Pedro | Dosan leaving for Hawaii and then to Shanghai. Susan Ahn, his daughter, was 11. This is the last time his children would ever see their father. Dosan sacrificed his family for Korea. If he did not, there would be no Liberation Day August 15. 

Dosan after being released in 1935 after 3 and a half years in Daejon Prison in Korea. 

Dosan's last Prison ID Card from Sodaemun Prison in Seoul in 1937. 

The Ahn Family:  Soorah, Helen, and Susan (below); Ralph, Philip, and Philson (above) in Los Angeles 1941

Dosan's Passport was #51. His wife, Helen, was assigned #52. They are the first married couple from Korea to come to the U.S. They came through Tokyo, Honolulu, Vancouver, and Seattle in order to arrive in San Francisco on October 12, 1902. Dosan (island - mountain; hangul 도산; hanja   島山)   took his pen name inspired by seeing Hawaii in 1902. When they arrived in San Francisco, they went through Angel Island, where U.S. officials processed immigrants coming to America. At the time they arrived, there were already a few Koreans there selling Korean ginseng.

Dosan's Passport was #51. His wife, Helen, was assigned #52. They are the first married couple from Korea to come to the U.S. They came through Tokyo, Honolulu, Vancouver, and Seattle in order to arrive in San Francisco on October 12, 1902. Dosan (island - mountain; hangul 도산; hanja 島山) took his pen name inspired by seeing Hawaii in 1902. When they arrived in San Francisco, they went through Angel Island, where U.S. officials processed immigrants coming to America. At the time they arrived, there were already a few Koreans there selling Korean ginseng.

Hawaii 1915 | Dosan had worked with the Korean National Association (KNA) branch in Hawaii in 1915. He also went to every island and visited all Koreans living and working there. 

This photo was taken by Dosan in 1918 in Tampico, Mexico. Kim Ik Chu built this Korean style building. Kim was a member of the Korean National Association (aka Kungminhoe) and the Young Korean Academy (aka Hung Sa Dan). Dosan spent over six months in Mexico, the Yucatan, and Cuba before returning to Los Angeles. He was working on Independence Movement activities in Mexico as the President of the Central Congress of the KNA. 

Philip (back), Soorah, Susan and Philson in Los Angeles, 1920

1932 Seoul | Dosan returns to Korea after 21 years in exile fighting for Korea's freedom from Japan. He returns from Shanghai, China to his homeland as a prisoner. He was falsely arrested in Shanghai as an accomplice for the Hongkew Park Bombing by Yun Bong Gil. Dosan would be convicted of violating the Preservation of Peace Laws. He served three and a half years in Daejon Prison, where he was tortured and kept under strict watch by the guards. Since 1910, this was his fifth arrest and longest sentence.

This was taken shortly before Dosan died. He is with Kim Pok-chin (left) and Yi Kuk-chin (right). After Dosan died, these two sculptors made a death mask of Dosan but the Japanese confiscated it and took both of them to the police station for harsh interrogation. 

1938 | Dosan Death Memorial Service

1962 | Helen Ahn receiving the Order of Merit for National Foundation Daehan Minguk Jang, posthumously awarded to Dosan. Philip Ahn (age 57) and Rufus B. von KleinSmid, fifth President of the University of Southern California.