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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: March 18, 2019 09:50 AM
From: Senator Bob Mensch and Sen. Timothy P. Kearney
To: All Senate members
Subject: Recognizing and Commemorating the Centennial Anniversary of the Historic “March First Movement” and “First Korean Congress”
In the near future, we will be introducing a resolution recognizing and commemorating the centennial anniversary of the historic “March First Movement” and “First Korean Congress.”

On March 1, 1919, thirty-three Korean-Independence activists signed the Korean Declaration of Independence from Imperial Japan in the Korean capital city of Seoul. On that same day, there was a public reading of the Declaration.

This reading ignited non-violent protests throughout the country. By the time the movement was suppressed by the Japanese 12 months later, approximately 2,000,000 Koreans had participated in more than 1,500 demonstrations. The struggle killed 7,000 people and wounded an additional 16,000 people. This massive public resistance came to be called the March First Movement.

Although the March First Movement did not result in the immediate liberation of Korea, it became the catalyst for the Korean independence movement as Koreans living abroad joined the efforts, especially Koreans in the U.S.

Philip Jaisohn, a Korean political refugee who made his home in Media, PA, made Philadelphia a central overseas base for supporting Korean independence. Inspired by the First and Second Continental Congress of the United States, he, along with Syngman Rhee, who became the first Korean President of the Republic of Korea, and Han Kyong Chung organized The First Korean Congress, which was also held in Philadelphia.

This delegation of 150 Korean representatives and Americans participated in the First Korean Congress and on the last day, with support from the City of Philadelphia, they marched in solidarity from the Little Theatre to Independence Hall, where the Korean Declaration of Independence was once again proclaimed to the world.

Next month the Korean American Community in Pennsylvania will come together in Philadelphia to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the March First Independence Movement in America and the First Korean Congress. We ask that you please join us in recognizing and commemorating this important time in history.

Introduced as SR63