Spotlight On Activist Dosan Ahn Chang Ho

Sky You, Children's Librarian, West Valley Regional Branch Library,
Portrait of Dosan Ahn Chang Ho, April 1919
Portrait of Dosan Ahn Chang Ho, April 1919

Ahn Chang Ho was a Korean independence activist and one of the early leaders of the Korean-American immigrant community in the United States. He established the Young Korean Academy (Heung Sa Dan) to build civic and political leadership capacity for the Korean independence movement from Japanese colonial rule and was a key member in the founding of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea in Shanghai, China. In the turmoil immediately before and during the Japanese occupation of Korea, he called for the moral and spiritual renewal of the Korean people through education as one of the essential components in their struggle for independence.

Dosan Ahn Chang Ho
Dosan Ahn Chang Ho, [1919]. Shades of L.A.: Korean American Community

Riverside & Los Angeles

Ahn and his wife, Lee Hye-Ryeon, immigrated to the US in 1902. They were the first married Korean couple to arrive in the US. The first Korean American community, Pachappa Camp, was formed in Riverside, where Ahn settled in 1905.

Picking oranges in Riverside
Dosan Ahn Chang Ho picking oranges in Riverside, 1912. This is his famous aphorism: "Even picking one orange with one's whole heart constitutes patriotism."

When Ahn and his family moved to Los Angeles in 1914, the Young Korean Academy's headquarters moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles. It first operated out of the Ahn family home at 1411 West 4th Street, then by 1917 at 106 North Figueroa Street. The Young Korean Academy leased the property at 3421 South Catalina Street in 1929, then purchased it in 1932 as its first standalone headquarters.

Memorial Service for Dosan Chang Ho Ahn
Memorial service for Dosan Chang Ho Ahn at the Korean National Association, Los Angeles, California, [1938].Shades of L.A.: Korean American Community

The memorial was built to honor him in downtown Riverside where Ahn created the Korean Labor Bureau for citrus grove workers and raised his children. The City of Los Angeles has also declared the nearby intersection of Jefferson Boulevard and Van Buren Place to be "Dosan Ahn Chang Ho Square" in his honor. The main freeway interchange in downtown Los Angeles where the 10 Freeway and 110 Freeway meet is named after Dosan Ahn Chang Ho. The official name of the post office on the northwest corner of 6th and Harvard is "Dosan Ahn Chang Ho station."

Suggested Activities

  • Visit Korean National Association Memorial Foundation (1368 W Jefferson Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90007) and learn about the stories of Dosan Ahn Chango Ho and other Korean American patriots' legacies.
  • Read about Korean history and think about what Korean Americans' legacy from the early 1900 means to Korean Americans now.
  • Think about your family's heritage. Why did your family immigrate to the United States? What were your parents'/grandparents’ dreams? What is your dream now?
  • Visit the website to learn more about Dosan Ahn Chang Ho and the history of his life as a Korean independence activist and a leader of the Korean immigrant community in the U.S.
thumbnail of Dosan coloring page

Coloring page