Course Content
Lesson 1: The Korean Diaspora and Korean Americans
Students are introduced to Korean Diaspora and Korean American immigration patterns and experiences. They compare experiences of Korean Americans in the first and second waves of immigrants and consider how these experiences have evolved over the the 20th century. They analyze oral histories and complete a web-based short research project on locations of Koreans and Korean Americans.
Lesson 2: The First Koreatown and the Legacy of Dosan Ahn Chang Ho
Students explore the life of Dosan Ahn Chang Ho, his immigration to the United States, and his life as an activist and community builder. They examine how the first Koreatown was established in Riverside, California, and compare the experiences of Korean, Mexican, and women citrus pickers and packers. Finally, they identify Dosan's contributions to the United States and Korea.
Lesson 3: ​Immigrant Experiences ​of Korean Americans: The Sammy Lee Story
Students are introduced to the experiences of Korean American immigrants through Sammy Lee’s life story. They reflect upon and critically analyze the responses of Sammy Lee and his family to the racism and discrimination they faced as immigrants, consider ways the immigration laws have changed over the 20th century, and identify ways to advocate for Korean American immigrants.
Lesson 4: The Korean Independence Movement and Korean American Identity in the U.S.
Students situate President Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points Peace Program and 1919 speech to congress in the development of the Korean Independence Movement. They engage in a jigsaw activity and examine original documents and news reports from the time period to identify how the Korean Independence Movement shaped and was shaped by the formation of the Korean American identify in the United States. Students compose a letter to President Wilson to encourage the United States to support the Korean Independence Movement.
Lesson 5: Colonel Young Oak Kim: Hero and Humanitarian
Students explore the life of Young Oak Kim, and identify contributions he has made to the United States. They complete a Think/Write/Pair Share/Group Share as they reflect on what it is like to be a Korean American/minority struggling through racial barriers like Young Oak Kim. They explore what kinds of microaggressions Kim encountered and consider how he responded to those actions. Students deepen their understanding of the life of Young Oak Kim as a U.S. citizen, war hero and community activist, and they annotate and discuss an excerpt from the biography, Unsung Hero: The Colonel Young O. Kim Story, by Woo Sung Han. They construct a biopoem and/or an argument essay on his life and contributions to American society.
Lesson 6: Aftermath of the Korean War and Korean Transnational Adoptions
Students explore the ending and aftermath of the Korean War. They learn about the history of the Korean War and what war was like from the perspective of Koreans. Students learn about one of the many groups of displaced civilians whose lives were forever changed by the war, Korean children. They learn how Korean children became central to international aid efforts that led to the advent of transnational adoptions. ​ They analyze an article from 1953 about a Korean transnational adoptee and consider the broader impacts of Korean transnational adoptions on Koreans and Korean-Americans. Finally, students learn about transnational adoptions from the perspective of Deann Borshay Liem, a Korean adoptee.
Lesson 7: Saigu and Social Justice
Students are introduced to 1992 LA Civil Unrest and how it impacted Korean Americans. They reflect upon and critically analyze the responses of various individuals and groups to the unrest, examine issues of justice, and consider the legacy of Saigu for Korean Americans today.
Lesson 8: Korean Americans in the 21st Century
Students explore Korean popular culture in the United States, including K-Pop, Korean and Korean American films, food, and more. They compare and contrast K-POP and American Popular music, conduct short research on an example of Hallyu, analyze films, conduct research for a biographical presentation of a notable Korean American, and compose a memoir essay of their own experiences
Korean American Ethnic Studies
About Lesson

Activity 4.2: How did the Korean Independence Movement shape and become shaped by Formation of the Korean American Identity in the United States?

  Students examine original documents and news reports from the time period to identify how the Korean Independence Movement shaped and was shaped by the formation of the Korean American identify in the United States. 

Protest poster encouraging a vote of YES on Alien Land Law, Proposition 1, circa 1913. (Source: Courtesy of Pioneering Punjabis Collection, University of California Davis)

Activity Questions

  • In the study of migration, push factors are those that encourage a population to leave its home, and pull factors are those that draw a population to another area or place. What push and pull factors shaped Korean immigration to the U.S. in the early 1900s?
  • How did California Alien Land Laws affect Korean immigrants?
  • How did early Korean Americans see Japan’s occupation of Korea?
  • How did the March 1 Movement shape attitudes towards Korea and Korean Americans in the United States?
  • Who organized the First Korean Congress and what was its purpose?
  • How did the Korean Independence Movement impact Korean Women’s groups and contribute to the Korean American women identity?
  • How did the Korean Independence Movement shape and become shaped by formation of the Korean American identity in the United States?

  Instructional Strategies

  • Use the Lesson 4: The Korean Independence Movement (Activity 4.2) presentation to support this lesson.

  Home Groups and Activity Introduction

  • Divide students into 6-member groups. These Home Groups should be diverse in terms of gender, ethnicity, race, and ability. Identify one student as the leader. 
  • Inform students that today they will be exploring the following question:  How did the Korean Independence Movement shape and become shaped by the formation of the Korean American identity in the United States?  Let students know that they will be “jigsawing” out of their group to examine primary sources related to a specific topic related to this question, and that they will be returning to their Home Group to summarize what they have learned.
  • NOTE: Point out to students that these events were not the only ones that shaped the Korean American identify and the Korean Independence Movement. These events were selected because they are important and allow us to view original documents and news reports from the 1919s.
  • Assign students in each group to one of the following categories.
    • Topic ​Group 1: Push and Pull Factors of Korean Immigration
    • Topic Group 2: California Alien Land Laws of 1913 and 1920
    • Topic Group 3:  Hemet California Incident
    • Topic Group 4: First Korean Congress in the U.S.
    • Topic Group 5: Perspectives from Korea
    • Topic Group 6: Women, Christians, and Other Contributors

  Topic Group Activity

  • Have students “jigsaw” out to their Topic groups and distribute group materials.
  • Have students review the sources provided and answer the questions.  Be sure students understand that they will be the “sole expert” on this topic when they return to their Home Group and, therefore, should take good notes on the questions.

  Back to Home Groups for Star Summary

  • Return students to their Home Groups and have them complete Home Group Assignment.  If you plan on an informal or formal writing activity to end this lesson, each member should complete their own assignment.  

  Closing Activity

  • Have leaders of each Home Group share their response to one or more of the table cells.

  Resources See also the Lesson 4 Teachers Guide and Lesson 4 Presentation, found under Activity 4.1.

  • Handout: Group 1 Assignment: Push and Pull Factors of Korean Immigration (WORD/PDF)
  • Handout: Group 2 Assignment: California Alien Land Laws of 1913 and 1920 (WORD/PDF)
  • Handout: Group 3 Assignment: Hemet, California Incident (WORD/PDF)
  • Handout: Group 4 Assignment: First Korean Congress in the U.S. (WORD/PDF)
  • Handout: Group 5 Assignment: Perspectives from Korea (WORD/PDF)
  • Handout: Group 6 Assignment: Women, Christians, and Other Contributors (WORD/PDF)

Handout: Activity 4.2 Home Group Assignment (WORD/PDF)  

Activity 4.2 Home Group Assignment (PDF)
List of Group Resources (PDF)
Home Group 1 (PDF)
Home Group 2 (PDF)
Home Group 3 (PDF)
Home Group 4 (PDF)
Home Group 5 (PDF)
Home Group 6 (PDF)

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