Immigrant Oral Histories

Korean

Nativity scene in Korean Sunday School at a Methodist church in St. Anthony Park, ca. 1974. MHS Photo Collection.

The first Koreans to settle in Minnesota came as the wives of U.S. servicemen following the end of the Korean War in 1953, or as college students and professors in the 1950s and 60s. Many of the academics had planned to return to Korea but stayed permanently in the U.S. because of increasing political and economic instability in Korea at that time. Large numbers of Korean children also began to arrive in the U.S. (and Minnesota especially) as adoptees in the decades following the Korean War. The 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act opened the door for the entry of many more Asian immigrants than had previously been allowed, and the 1970s saw the arrival of large numbers of working class Koreans, many of whom became small business owners. In 2009 there were 16,000 Korean Americans in Minnesota.

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Asians in Minnesota Oral History Project
Korean Community Oral History Project
Oral history interview with Jong Bum Kwon
Oral history interview with Sarah Imm