-- The House unanimously approved a resolution sponsored by Rep. Todd Stephens (R-Montgomery) to declare June 19, 2022, “Korean-American Citizenship Day” in Pennsylvania.
House Resolution 203
marks the 132nd anniversary of one of the unsung fighters for freedom, Dr. Philip Jaisohn, who in 1890, became the first Korean immigrant to acquire United States citizenship in 1890. Two years later, on June 19, 1890, he became the first Korean ever to receive an American medical degree.
“That alone would have made Jaisohn a pioneer in the story of Korean American history but concerned with the political future of his native land, Jaisohn returned to Korea in 1896 where he initiated a revolution of reforms that shunned violence in favor of more reliable but slower changes,” Stephens said.
These political and economic reforms to improve health care became the seeds of democracy in Korea.
In April 1919, Jaisohn assembled the First Korean Congress in Philadelphia. The delegation marched into Independence Hall for a public reading of the Korean Declaration of Independence.
While fighting for Korean independence, Jaisohn returned to medical practice opening his general practice in Chester, Pa., and served as a pathologist for several local hospitals.
Jaisohn passed away on Jan. 5, 1951, at the age of 87, in Norristown.
“It’s no exaggeration to call Dr. Jaisohn the founding father of democracy and Korean modernization and one of the pioneering forces in medicine in Pennsylvania,” Stephens said.