Finding Asian American History: American University Cherry Trees

In 1943, Syngman Rhee, who would later become the first president of South Korea after World War II, worked with American University president Paul F. Douglass, to plant Korean cherry trees on the school's grounds in protest to Japan’s colonization of Korea. In 2023, three of the original four trees remain.

This site is a part of the Finding Asian American History in Washington DC digital tour.



Syngman Rhee, who would become the Republic of Korea's first president, spent many years in DC trying to rally US support for Korean independence. In 1943, he organized the planting of four specifically Korean cherry trees at American University. The campus paper, The Eagle, reported on the event on April 13, 1943.
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