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 7.1: A Cry for Justice


Students create a timeline of events associated with Saigu, the 1992 LA Civil Unrest.  They define ​terms related to the event, including civil unrest, riot, uprising, justice, injustice, advocate.  They analyze differences between justice and injustice as it relates to race and poverty in America.

A historic photograph of Korean Americans keeping watch over a store during the LA Riots of 1992. (Source: LA Times)​

Activity Questions

  • What events occurred during the 1992 LA Civil Unrest?
  • Who was involved in the unrest and what were their roles?
  • What were some outcomes of the unrest?
  • How does civil unrest affect communities who have limited access to financial or social support?
  • How has this incident shaped issues of justice and injustice for Korean Americans?

  Instructional Strategies

  • Use Lesson 7: Saigu – The 1992 LA Civil Unrest presentation to support this lesson.

  Definitions Brainstorm

  • Begin this lesson by having students brainstorm definitions for the following terms: civil unrest, riot, uprising, justice, injustice, advocate

  Introduction to Saigu

  • Use the lecture presentation to introduce what happened during Saigu.

  Timeline Activity Internet Activity

  • Either individually, pairs, or trios (using student devices) or as a class (via teacher device), have students complete the Saigu Map and Timeline Activity using the interactive map at K’TOWN 92 MAP.

  Reflecting on Justice versus Injustice

  • Show the YouTube video, 1992 LA Riots, Mojo’s Top 5 Facts (6:58 min). As students watch, have them note examples of justice and injustice (and to whom and from whom) presented in the video on the T-Chart: Justice.
  • Individually, in pairs, or small groups, have students complete a Think-Pair-Share: What is the difference between justice and injustice? What examples of injustice did you see in the story of Saigu? Who benefits from injustice? Who benefits from justice? How might advocates impact injustice?

  Closing the Activity

  • Show the Vimeo video, April’s Way: a 1992 LA Riots Short Film (8:14 minutes) (based on a true story).
  • End class with review and discussion of the activity questions and how the April’s Way film reshaped or reinforced their answers.



Worksheet: Saigu Timeline of Events (PDF)
YouTube Video: LA Riots: MoJo’s Top 5 Facts (6:57 minutes)
Worksheet: T-Chart Justice (PDF)
Vimeo Video: April’s Way (8:57 minutes)

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