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Memorial for late Korean American politician installed in Koreatown

October 6, 2014
The Alfred H. Song memorial at Wilshire-Western Metro station was revealed Oct. 3. Left to right: USC President Max Nikias, L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Leslie Song. (Park Sang-hyuk/The Korea Times)

The Alfred H. Song memorial at Wilshire-Western Metro station was revealed Oct. 3. Left to right: USC President Max Nikias, L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Leslie Song. (Park Sang-hyuk/The Korea Times)

The 111th anniversary of Korean immigration to America was celebrated with the installation of a memorial honoring a late Korean American politician at Wilshire-Western Metro station in Koreatown Friday.

About 100 attended the unveiling ceremony for the memorial of Alfred H. Song, the first Asian American elected to California’s state legislature in the 1960s.

Others who helped celebrate included University of Southern California President Max Nikias, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Los Angeles Korean Consul General Kim Hyun-myung and Song’s USC law school classmate and attorney Min Byung-soo.

Ten members of Song’s family, including his children Leslie and Mark Song, were also present.

Leslie Song gives a speech at the unveiling ceremony of the Alfred H. Song memorial Oct. 3. (Park Sang-hyuk/The Korea Times)

Leslie Song gives a speech at the unveiling ceremony of the Alfred H. Song memorial Oct. 3. (Park Sang-hyuk/The Korea Times)

“I’m happy,” said Leslie Song, who headed the two-year effort of the committee for the memorial’s installation.

She thanked the Metro board, the Korean American community, USC and Korean American attorneys for their support and donations.

Her father jumped into politics during the civil rights movement and worked to advance California despite there not being many Asian voters in Monterey Park, where he got his political start as a city councilman, she said.

Located in the northwest corner of the station, the memorial measures 6 feet across and 10 feet tall and details Song’s life through photos and quotes inscribed in both Korean and English.

Song was a World War II veteran and USC graduate who became the first Asian American in the California state assembly and, in 1966, the state senate.

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