St. Johnsbury Academy Jeju (SJA Jeju) invited a special guest for celebrating the centennial anniversary of the March 1st Independence Movement Day (Samiljeol). Dongjin (DJ) Kim, a chairman of Hulbert Memorial Society, visited SJA Jeju and gave special lectures to MS and HS students to honor Homer B. Hulbert, who was a graduate from St. Johnsbury Academy in Vermont.
Hulbert is called 'a blue-eyed supporter’ because of his indefatigable advocate of Korean progress and independence. He was a pioneer of Korean education, a student of Hangeul (Korean alphabet), journalism, Korean studies and most importantly an ardent activist for the independence of Korea against the gathering cloud of Japanese domination.
Hulbert published and distributed the first Hangeul textbook, “Saminpilji” in 1889, merely three years after arriving in Joseon. He actively promoted Korean culture and Hangeul to the outside world, writing articles in his spare time for publication in U.S. newspapers and magazines. He also supported the establishment of “The Independent (독립신문, Tongnip Sinmun)” in 1896, of which the English version was edited and published by Hulbert.
In the second International Peace Conference held in The Hague in 1907, he was selected as part of a secret delegation from Emperor Gojong that condemned Japanese imperialism, leaving a significant mark in the history of the Korean independence movement.
Mr. Kim’s lectures here at SJA Jeju introduced Hulbert’s life while highlighting his accomplishments that crucially impacted Korea’s civilization and independence in the Korean Language class and the Korean History class. Students were fascinated by the life story of Homer B. Hulbert and listened very carefully to all the magnificent work that he accomplished in Korea a hundred years ago.
DongJin (DJ) Kim, the visiting lecturer, worked for over 30 years in the banking industry in Seoul and New York and while in college read Homer B. Hulbert’s “The Passing of Korea (1906).” He was struck by Dr. Hulbert’s accomplishments, particularly in the fight for Korean independence. Since then he undertook the life-long task of ensuring a place for Dr. Hulbert in the annals of Korean history and has published numerous books on the subject.
Dr. Peter M. Toscano, the SJA Jeju Head of School, commented that “The opportunity to learn the details of Dr. Hulbert’s life was fascinating, not only for our students but for our entire faculty and staff as well. He is the embodiment of our commitment to developing character in our students. His tireless and selfless work pursuing the fight for Korean independence exemplifies the innate desire within us to all to seek truth and end injustice.
Mr. Kim’s lectures were very impressive. They were informative and entertaining and we look forward to partnering with him and the Hulbert Memorial Society to further embrace the life achievements of this remarkable man.”