Community Lecture Series

Remembering the Past: Honoring Our Heritage

Photo: Korean conversation class

Han-O: The Korean Conversation Class, 2004–2013

Han-O: The Korean Conversation Class, 2004–2013 is a half-hour documentary produced by KBFD-TV that tells the story of a special Korean language class composed of second- and third-generation Korean Americans, most of whom are in their eighties and nineties.

Concerned that the experiences of second-generation Koreans descended from the first wave of Korean immigration to the United States (1903–1924) are largely unknown to their own families and friends, the class decided to publish a modest book of essays written by their teacher, Iris Kim, and themselves.

The essays illuminate the hardships, both personal and economic, endured by immigrant families and the struggles required to help the parents, often single mothers, find their way out of poverty. Words like courage, perseverance, passion, and can-do attitude characterize these Korean American families of the early twentieth century. Out of this book came the television documentary, which captures the indomitable spirit and joy of the class members as recorded in their essays.

Join us for a screening of the documentary and a panel discussion featuring class members discussing their stories, followed by a question-and-answer session and reception. The panel will be moderated by Wilma Sur, attorney, Ph.D. candidate in American studies, and daughter of class member Lillian Sur.