In 1903, Kim Kyusik graduated from Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia. After the Japanese military sized Korea as a colony, Kim Kyusik helped organize a Korean provisional government in China and became a leader of the Korean Independence Movement. After an attempted revolution against Japanese colonial rule failed, Kim Kyusik spoke at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference to lobby for Korean independence. Koreans did not gain independence from Japan until that colonial power was defeated, shortly after the detonation of the first atomic bombs used in warfare. Kim Kyusik maintained his political activism after the Soviet Union created a sphere of influence over the northen side of his home country. With the outbreak of the Korean War Kim Kyusik was captured, by North Korean forces, and died in captivity.
On March 31st, 2022, a historical marker to Kim Kyusik’s legacy, which was approved by the Virginia Department of Human Resouces in 2021, was dedicated in the Roanoke College’s Bank Building.