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The Ghosts of the Gwangju Uprising


On May 18, 1980, the people of Gwangju, South Korea came together for reunification and an end to an era of martial law imposed by U.S.-backed military dictators. Over the course of ten days, they staged mass protests, battled riot police and soldiers, and were met with brutal repression. Together, they successfully drove the military out Gwangju and governed the city together. Their actions changed the course of Korean history.

On Part 1 of this episode of Making Contact, we hear from survivors of the Gwangju Uprising about how they took on the tasks of history and the lessons they carry.

Special thanks to Jung Dong Suk of Gwangju SPARK, Io Sunwoo, Esther Kang, and Hella Organized Bay Area Koreans.

Image Credit: Hong Sung-Dam

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  • Lee Yoon Jung, President of the May Women’s Association
  • Ahn Sung Rye, Nurse Supervisor at Gwangju Gidok Hospital during the Gwangju Uprising


  • Host: Marie Choi
  • Producers: Anita Johnson, Marie Choi, Monica Lopez, R.J. Lozada
  • Executive Director: Lisa Rudman
  • Audience Engagement Director/Web Editor: Sabine Blaizin
  • Development Associate: Vera Tykulsker
  • Archival Tape: U.S. Department of Defense Combat Bulletin 101, United Newsreels Japan Surrenders
  • U.S. Soldiers Voiceovers: R.J. Lozada, Josh Klinkenberger and Tavis Kelley
  • Yoon Jung Lee Voiceover: Deann Borshay Liem
  • Ahn Sung Rye Voiceover: Miriam Ching Louie


  • +rain – Jio Im
  • 우리의 소원은 통일 (Our Wish is Reunification) for Piano based on B.W. Ahn – Young Jo Lee
  • What Were We Holding Onto – Jio Im
  • March of the Beloved for News Tapa – Yojo and Ruben
  • July – Jio Im
  • 1983 Song for News Tapa – Sulpa


Author: Sabine Blaizin

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