Legacy Project: Young Song Kim

Category: FirstGen, Legacy Project, Original Video, Video


“My story is somewhat different because I came to the United States to prepare myself to go back to Mission Hospital in Jeonju. But my stance, and my late wife’s stance, on human rights in Korea, made it impossible to go back.”

In this Legacy Project, Young Song Kim shares his story with his son, Doug. Young Song was born in 1928 in Jeonju, South Korea and grew up living through the Japanese occupation. After the tragic death of both his father and sister when he was just 10 years old, he made the decision to become a doctor.

In 1949, after receiving a mysterious acceptance letter from North Park College in Chicago with fully paid tuition – which he later discovered was because of his American friend Wally – Young Song now had the opportunity to make his dreams come true. He completed his undergraduate and medical education and eventually raised his family in America. However, his repeated attempts to return to his native Korea to work and teach full-time as a heart surgeon were continually rejected by the South Korean government because of his pro-democracy and human rights activism.