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

Lesson 7: Saigu: The 1992 LA Civil Unrest

(Source: From the film, SA-I-GU: From Korean Women’s Perspectives, Center for Asian American Media) [2022 marks 30th Anniversary of LA Civil Unrest]


  Lesson Features

    • TOPICS: Saigu, 1992 LA Civil Unrest, justice and injustice
    • HISTORICAL TIMEFRAME: 1990 – 2020
    • SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT: Causes/Effects Graphic Organizer
    • LITERATURE AND WRITING EXTENSION: Autobiographical Essay

  Lesson Overview

    • 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.


    • There are three activities in this lesson. Each activity requires approximately 55 minutes and includes homework.
    • The Summative Assessment Causes/Effects Graphic Organizer will also require at least one 55-minute period.

  Objectives and Learning Goals

    • Students will be able to explain the causes and effects of the 1992 LA Civil Unrest.
    • Students will be able to identify instances of justice and injustice for different individuals and groups during the 1992 LA Civil Unrest.
    • Students will be able to define concepts in interethnic relations/studies through the lens of the “Black-Korean conflict,” and identify how these concepts are contextualized within current events.
    • Students will be able to identify examples of current racial tensions that may derive from the 1992 LA Civil Unrest.
    • Students will be able to analyze the Legacy of Saigu.


    • Advocatea person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy.
    • Black-Korean Conflictnegative interactions between Korean merchants and Black consumers in urban communities. The nature of this conflict has resulted in anti-Asian sentiments and angry attitudes that have escalated the conflict to boycotts of Korean business interests, beatings due to mistaken identities, deaths of merchants and consumers and, in the case of the 1992 urban uprisings in Los Angeles, looting and burning of targeted-Korean businesses.
    • Civil unrest – acts of violence and disorder detrimental to public law and order.
    • Economic disparity – unequal distribution of wealth and opportunity.
    • Injustice – an unjust act or occurrence; lack of fairness or justice.
    • Justice – just behavior or treatment.


    • Marginalized people – groups or communities experiencing discrimination and exclusion within society.
    • Riot – a violent disturbance of the peace by a crowd; a form of civil unrest.
    • Solidarity – a sense of unity and community based on shared or common interests, goals, ideology, or beliefs.
    • Uprising – the act of resistance.

  Original Resource

    • Chang, E. & Cho, G. (2022). Saigu & Social Justice. In G. Cho & V. Costa (Eds.). Korean American Ethnic Studies Curriculum: Teaching Resource Materials for K-12 Classrooms (pp.321-381). Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Los Angeles.


Lesson 7 Presentation (PDF)
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