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UCR Exhibit Shares History of Riverside's Long Unknown Koreatown

Korean American Digital Archive
University of Southern California
A 1911 photo of Riverside's Korean community standing in front of a building in Pachappa Camp.

An exhibit at the UCR ARTS museum in Downtown Riverside brings to light city history that up until recently was unknown by historians.

Dosan Orange Picking.jpg
Korean American Digital Archive
University of Southern California
Dosan Ahn Chang Ho picking oranges in Riverside, CA.

In 2015, UC Riverside Professor of Ethnic Studies Edward Chang discovered Pachappa Camp, which existed in Downtown Riverside from 1905 to 1918. The camp is significant because it is the first known Korean American settlement in the mainland U.S.

“The reason why some people are so fascinated about this particular site is because it has a direct link to one of the most famous independence leaders of modern Korean history, Dosan Ahn Changho,” said Chang.

Chang Ho founded Pachappa Camp and played a significant role in establishing democratic republicanism in modern Korean politics. Professor Chang says Chang Ho helped establish a democracy within the camp, which mainly housed citrus industry workers. “It served as an impetus for establishing (a) democratic form of government in Shanghai, 1919,” says Chang.

The exhibit will be at the museum until January 9, 2022, and features many photos and documents from Pachappa Camp residents. Chang said, “I encourage everyone to come and take a look at this special exhibition and kind of relive what it was like to be a farmworker of Korean immigrants around (the) 1900’s, 1910’s.”

CLINK HERE to watch the PBS News Hour feature on Professor Edward Chang and the exhibit.

Jonathan Linden is a reporter at 91.9 KVCR in San Bernardino, California. He joined KVCR in July 2021 and had previously interned for the station in the Spring of 2019. Outside of KVCR, Jonathan also interned for KALW in San Francisco, KFI in Burbank, and Radio HCJB in Quito, Ecuador.