Byong Theresa ImageThe Legacy Project is an oral history project of KoreanAmericanStory.org.  The concept of the Legacy Project is to provide the Korean American community an easy turnkey process to capture the stories of individuals and families through video recordings.  With an investment of less than one hour, the Legacy Project will allow families to do something they have always been meaning to do, but have never done – to record the stories of their parents, grandparents, relatives or just another loved one.

Our priority is in recording of the stories of this older generation, but we have begun expanding the Legacy Project to include the stories of Korean Americans of all ages and backgrounds. We are encouraging dialog between friends or for siblings, even if they are still young or young at heart.  Additionally, if anyone wants to share their story, but do not have an interviewer in mind, a KoreanAmericanStory.org facilitator can conduct the interview.

KoreanAmericanStory.org has made recordings in other cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Cleveland and Boston.  Our goal is to continue to expand the recording to other major cities where there is a high density of Korean Americans.

What is the Purpose of the Legacy Project?

Preserve the collective history of Korean Americans

Our main goal is to collect and preserve the stories of older generation Korean American immigrants whose stories are at risk of being lost.  Many immigrated to the US during the 1970’s and 1980’s and many of them are now 70yrs – 80yrs old. As children, they grew up under Japanese colonialism, experienced WWII, survived the Korean War and some went on to serve in the Vietnam War.  Unfortunately, many of these older immigrants have already passed away and there is urgent need to preserve their stories before they are lost forever.

Enable families to preserve the oral history of their own families

The Legacy Project will enable families to preserve their family’s oral history, which will help subsequent generations to better understand and appreciate where they came from. Many older Korean American immigrants, during the twilight years of their lives, feel the need to tell preserve their experiences, which has resulted in many autobiographies. There is desire to make sense of their own lives, and to leave behind their stories for their families and friends.

Promote intergenerational dialog

Many Korean American families experience cultural and linguistic gap which discourages intergenerational dialog. Sometimes a pattern of selective, mundane dialog is difficult to alter after years of neglecting authentic sharing. Relationship between generations can be fragile, and unless genuine effort is made to re-engage the other person, that chasm between family members will not disappear. We hope to encourage our community to engage in authentic and genuine dialog so that we can help build stronger families and community.

Some older generations immigrants often say that they have nothing to share or that they don’t want to dwell in the past, which are often full of pain and suffering, and would prefer to look forward. Researchers have shown that sharing of stories by older generation to the younger generation can be one of the greatest gifts for the young person. Those whose parents have shared the stories of life’s ups and downs demonstrate the importance of perseverance. Through these stories the child develops a sense of Intergenerational Self which enables him/her to succeed in life.

How does the Legacy Project Work?

The Legacy Project recordings sessions are about 45 minute long, and the conversations will be video recorded.  The location of recording vary, depending on the number of recordings scheduled for that day. Recordings must be arranged in advance with by calling 914-325-7914 or via email: LegacyProject@KoreanAmericanStory.org

Don’t worry, we will provide you with a list of potential questions as well as a document which will explain what to expect on the recording day.  The participants will be asked to imagine “if this was the last conversation you are having with your elder Korean American (parent, grandparent, friend), what would you ask them? Why did you come to the US?  What was life like during the early years?”

Participants will get a copy of the recording for their family records. We will send a USB drive of the entire recording session, as well as the photos we take and the edited version of the recording to your home by mail.
The most compelling stories will be edited into 3 to 5 minute video clips, which will be shared on our web site in order to encourage others to participate in the Legacy Project.  As more people listen to these intimate stories, they are more likely to share their own private, sometimes painful and sometimes joyous stories. Additionally, KoreanAmericanStory.org will archive all full length recordings at the Digital Archives at the University of Southern California’s Korean Heritage Library, to benefit future generations

How Much Does it Cost?

The Legacy Project recording sessions are FREE.  The USB drive and the mailing costs are FREE as well.  There are no costs to you!  The costs are covered by financial supporters of KoreanAmericanStory.  If you feel this project is worthwhile, we do ask you to make a voluntary donation to help support the Legacy Project.

Will You Have Recordings in Other Cities?

Yes, KoreanAmericanStory.org will schedule recordings regularly in various cities.  Mobile video recording capability enables us to set up recordings at Korean churches and other non-religious Korean American organizations, at their request, to make it more accessible for the participants

To find out more about the Legacy Project or to schedule a recording, please contact: LegacyProject@KoreanAmericanStory.org