SAN FRANCISCO — The National Japanese American Historical Society is hosting a retrospective of iconic posters from the Japantown Art and Media Workshop from 1977 to 2000.

Chol Soo Lee and friends. (Photo copyright 1983 by Grant Din)

Two of the posters are about the quest for freedom for Chol Soo Lee, a Korean immigrant who was incarcerated over nine years for a Chinatown murder he did not commit and for a subsequent self-defense killing in prison, which resulted in a sentence on San Quentin’s Death Row.

Sacramento Union reporter K.W. Lee’s investigative reporting raised questions about the convictions, sparking what became one of the first pan-Asian American organizing campaigns, uniting students, attorneys, Korean immigrant businesspeople and grandmothers, and people from all over the country.

After a retrial in the Chinatown case that resulted in a verdict of innocence and later judge’s ruling in Stockton, Chol Soo Lee walked out of prison a free man on March 28, 1973.

To celebrate 30 years of freedom, come hear from Chol Soo Lee, K.W. Lee, UC Davis Professor Richard Kim, who is finishing up a book on the case, and members of some of the organizations that worked to free Chol Soo Lee in an informal program on Saturday, March 9, at 2 p.m. at the NJAHS Peace Gallery, 1684 Post St. in San Francisco Japantown. Admission is free.

For more information, call (415) 921-5007 or visit

“Free Chol Soo Lee” poster (1981) by Wes Senzaki

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *