Park Hee-byung

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Park Hee-byung
Hangul 박희병
Hanja
Revised Romanization Bak Hui-byeong
McCune–Reischauer Pak Hŭibyŏng
Pen name
Hangul 성천
Hanja
Revised Romanization Seongcheon
McCune–Reischauer Sŏngch'ŏn

Park Hee Byung (1871, Gangwon, Korea – June 13, 1907, Denver, Colorado) was a Korean independence activist and one of the first Korean immigrants to the U.S. state of Colorado.[1]

Life and death[edit]

Park first came to the United States in 1900 with Yi Gang, fifth son of Emperor Gojong; the two studied together at Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia.[1] After his graduation, Park established a mining school in his homeland, but soon returned to North America, where he first went to Mexico in August 1905 before coming to Colorado in January 1906. He rose to prominence as a local community leader there along with Yun Byeong-gu and his nephew Pak Yong-man, helping to organise Denver-area Koreans for the Korean independence movement. He hoped to campaign for Korea's freedom at the 1908 Democratic National Convention, but was killed under mysterious circumstances in a suspected assassination in 1907 and buried in an unmarked grave at Denver's Riverside Cemetery, where he lay forgotten for almost a century.[2][3]

Discovery of grave[edit]

In 2003, South Korean scholars doing research on immigration to the United States, having found records about Park in Korea, began to look through Denver cemetery records in an attempt to find him. After his burial site was identified, the local Korean American association held a ceremony in October 2007, during which they erected a new $3,000 granite headstone with a bilingual epitaph describing Park's life and accomplishments; 50 people attended the ceremony, including South Korean consul general Koo Bon-woo.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Nam, Gi-tae (2007-10-15). "덴버광역한인회-박희병 지사 묘비 제막식 (Denver metropolitan area Korean association holds grave unveiling ceremony for Bak Hui-byeong)". Korea Daily (in Korean). Retrieved 2007-11-28. [dead link]
  2. ^ Gang, Man-hui. "국외독립운동시설: 박희병 묘소 (Overseas independence activities: grave of Bak Hui-byeong)". Ministry of Patriots' and Veterans' Affairs, Republic of Korea. Retrieved 2007-11-28. 
  3. ^ McGhee, Tom (October 14, 2007). "Korean-Americans honor their roots". Denver Post. Retrieved 2007-11-28. 
  4. ^ Kerwin Mccrimmon, Katie (October 13, 2007). "Pioneer Korean immigrant to get his due: 100 years after his death, activist gets grave marker". Rocky Mountain News. Archived from the original on 2007-10-14. Retrieved 2007-11-28.