- Author(s): Chang, Edward T
- Brown, Hannah
- et al.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1525/ch.2018.95.3.46
Ahn Chang Ho (also known by his pen name, Dosan) moved to Riverside, California, in March 1904 and soon established the first Koreatown on the U.S. mainland, known as Dosan's Republic or Pachappa Camp. Dosan helped found a local employment agency and negotiated relations with citrus farmers to find work for Koreans who lived in the community. With steady work available, Riverside became a popular destination for Korean immigrants and was thus an ideal location for the Gongnip Hyeophoe, or Cooperative Association, which Dosan created to foster a sense of community. The Gongnip Hyeophoe later expanded to Korean settlements throughout California and eventually developed into the Korean National Association, which proved especially significant in organizing immigrants to fight for Korea's independence in the wake of Japanese colonization in 1910. Pachappa Camp helped anchor its residents’ identity and supported Koreans’ struggles to support themselves and to fight for Korean sovereignty. The experiences of the Koreans in Pachappa Camp reflected not only exceptional moments in Korean American history, as the first Koreatown in the United States and one of the seats of the independence movement, but also the ubiquitous experiences that typified immigrant lives in the United States. The City of Riverside erected a statue of Ahn Chang Ho in 2001, and designated the original site of the camp as a “Point of Cultural Interest” in 2017, to honor Dosan and to teach about his legacy and connection to Riverside. Because the historic Koreatown no longer exists, the designation and statue stand as the only remembrances of this pioneering community.