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 7.3: The Legacy of Saigu


Students examine the legacy of Saigu for Korean Americans. They compare/contrast perspectives in two new articles and consider the future for Korean Americans. 

Building burnt to the ground after the riots. (Source: Wikipedia)

Activity Questions

    1. What is the Saigu Legacy?
    2. In the South Central neighborhoods of Los Angeles, how have race relations changed since Saigu? How have they stayed the same?
    3. Being caught between two worlds, how do Korean Americans (immigrants) feel the pressures and the divide in the U.S. along racial lines, especially as they enter small businesses and inner-city communities?
    4. What racial inequalities and mistreatment of Korean Americans during the 1992 LA Civil Unrest/Uprising persist today?
    5. How does your new understanding of Korean American experiences impact your understanding of Korean American identify?

       Instructional Strategies

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


      • Provide students with the following prompt and allow them five minutes to Quick- write their response. Call on student volunteers to share their reflections.

    NOTE: Students will use these Quick-writes as their rough drafts for the Summative Assessment.

    • A legacy is something that is carried over from a previous generation and handed down from the past to the future. It is believed that building a legacy helps establish stronger communities, but a legacy may also have negative implications.
    • Write for 5 minutes about what you feel is the Saigu Legacy. Use these questions to guide your response:
      • What is a legacy?
      • What is the Saigu Legacy? How does it differ for different individuals or groups?
      • Who are all the individuals and groups that contributed to handing down the Saigu legacy?
      • Who are all the individuals and groups that were (and continue to be) impacted by the Saigu legacy?
      • What would be done in the future to reshape the Legacy of Saigu?

       Paired Reading

    • Have students access and read the two articles on Saigu’s legacy. (If necessary, distribute copies of articles).
    • Pair students and allow them to determine who will read which article. Have them annotate their articles by highlighting examples of the legacy of Saigu.
    • Have each student answer the question for their reading and be prepared to share with their partner.
      • What might Edward Chang, Carole Park, and Korean American merchants feel is part of the Saigu legacy? Make a list of these elements.
      • What might Soon Yoon, Simon Choi, and the Korean American Federation feel is part of the Saigu Legacy? Make a list of these elements.

       Return to Quick-writes

    • After reading, have each pair of students join another pair (four students total) and share their Quick-writes.
    • Have students return to their Quick-writes and add another paragraph that compares        and contrasts ideas.

       Closing Activity

    • Hold class discussion on the Activity Questions, beginning with this one: In the South Central neighborhoods of Los Angeles, how have race relations changed since Saigu? How have they stayed the same?



25 years after LA_riots (PDF)
Korean_liquor_store_LA_Times (PDF)

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