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tv   Korean War Digital Memorial Foundation  CSPAN  February 14, 2015 10:16pm-10:30pm EST

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film. that was the only evidence of remorse that i ever saw from him, or second-guessing, in any way. in my mind, in today's ranking of films, i guess it would be the best he would be -- i guess he would be thinking it would be an r rating. >> we have about a minute left . let's go to san mateo. >> i was curious. is it evidenced wilson was racist by segregating the armed forces? >> thanks for the call. hari jones. >> yes. wilson's secretary of the navy , josephus daniels out of raleigh, north carolina, would kick african-americans out of the active naval services immediately. wilson would have a campaign to
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try to get them out of the regular army, but he could not. because they were established by legislation. >> hari jones is the curator of the african american civil war memorial freedom foundation and museum. he's joining us in washington. dick lehr is the author of the book "the birth of a nation." gentlemen, thank you very much for being with us on c-span3's american history tv. >> this sunday, the filmmaker explores how african americans have been portrayed in photographic images from the time of slavery through today. >> it was based in many ways on the work of deborah willis, her groundbreaking book about black photographers. i was also aware this world -- there was this other narrative going on as well in which black people were constructed post
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slavery and even before the end of slavery as something other than human. it was part of the marketing of the photographs and memorabilia and stereotypes. in many ways, they are still haunting us in terms of the way in which we might see ourselves in terms of the way we might see others. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern and pacific. >> the korean war digital archives is an online memorial of soldiers who sometimes -- thought what is sometimes called the forgotten war. the archive includes a collection of oral history interviews that provide eyewitness accounts of the korean war. this month, american history tv will air a selection of these interviews with former prisoners of war. we will hear from charles morris
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-- charles ross who served as a sergeant during the korean war and was captured by the chinese. but first, more about the korean war digital memorial. these programs run about one hour and 45 minutes. >> joining us on american history tv is jongwoo han, who is the founder and president of the korean war digital memorial. thank thank you for being here. >> thank you for inviting me. this is a great opportunity. thank you. >> what is is what is the war veterans digital memorial? >> it is a combination database that is composed of interviews and historical artifacts from the korean war veterans who fought from 1950 to 1953 in the korean war. so i do an interview of the korean war veterans about their memories and their sacrifices
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and selected artifacts, like photographs they actually took during the war and the letters they wrote to their families and other artifacts, promotion posters, maps, and private and public documents that related to their service. it's a database of interviews -- and historical artifacts. >> take us back to the beginning. what inspired you and how do you make the initial moves, what did you do first? >> i do teach about the internet or online social media on elections, politics, and democracy. and syracuse university, where i teach, you know, we had very historical project working with one north korean project supported by the american and korean governments and we actually were able to help them establish the digital library for the first time in north korean history. and when i ran the lecture series named after the korean ambassador who founded the
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korean embassy in 1948, i invited korean war veterans in syracuse and they brought their own pictures that they took. i was thinking how we can preserve this memory forever you know, there is a shortage of the spaces in the physical museum, but if we put it in the cyberspace, there's no limitations whatsoever for for temporal and spatial limitations. i began to propose, then, why don't we build this cyber shrines of the korean war ve veterans, which will permanently be there and can be accessible anywhere any time without much positive. >> this database, this website has an incredible amount of oral histories, too. what led you to begin starting to tape the histories of korean war veterans? >> -- because their memories have not been really respected and it has not been well preserved.
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as a person and a scholar who knows about the strengths of information technology, i wanted to preserve the memories forever because even though the korean war was very important because it was the signaling of the cold war, that actually shaped every aspect of our lives. that cold war divided the whole world into communism and free democracy and capitalism. the korean war was the beginning of it. but not many people pay attention to it. people said it is a forgotten war. the korean war veterans, when they returned from the korean war, they were asked, where have you been? what what is the average age of the korean war veteran? >> 83. it is time to act and collect these interviews and artifacts. otherwise, we will lose everything. >> when you asked if you could tell their story, what was the typical reaction?
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>> i began to work with the korean war veterans association. they unanimously support my decision and idea to preserve this memory in cyberspace. i'm getting tremendous support from the korean war veterans and korean war veterans association. i don't have any problem to arrange the interviews. they really want to tell about what they did for the country. >> how long do these interviews last? how many have you done so far? >> it all depends on the veterans. but the average length is 30 minutes to one hour. i have about 180 interviews. i have more than 6000 artifacts stored in my database. >> looking at the website the other day, it is not just the korean war veterans. it is also some of the service members who served their indifferent decades, including
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one in the 1970's and one in the 1980's. why are you interested in hearing from those folks as well? >> that is a very good question. the korean war started june 25 1950. but the u.s. government extended up to the january 1 1955, even though the war ended july 27 of 1953. that is the korean war veterans europera. there are more than 2 million u.s. forces that have served in korea and retired. i want to include them as a successor of the korean war veterans. it is a u.s. commitment. it is an extension of the korean war. >> you are still continuing doing the interviews. if folks watching this want to reach out to veterans and others who would like to tell their story, how do they reach you? >> just check the website
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www.kwvdm, david and mary, .org. you'll see lots of interviews and so many kinds of artifacts. the emphasis is it's not the dramatic pictures like general mcarthur with his pipe, no, it's not. but it's the picture and the scenes that regular american soldiers looked during the war. so it's their own eyes. and that's where my emphasis goes. >> that leads me to my next question. how do you think these interviews you've done have led us to a better understanding of the korean war. >> as i told you, it's been regarded as a forgotten war, but because there are very good thing came out of it. first of all, it's the republic of korea. they achieved, my own country achieved, the simultaneous development of economic development. never been presented, and we are one of the most substantiative
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democracy in asia. so a good thing came out of it. there are more things to be coming out of it. that is why my foundation is hosting the korean war veterans legacy project and it is inviting the descendents of the veterans. i urge them to continue to carry the torches of the korean war veterans' sacrifice and legacy. >> what are some things you have learned from the veterans you have interviewed? is there a story that stands out in your interviews? >> most of the time when i do an interview, i am asking, did you know about korea before you were dispatched? >> did you know about the country? >> they did not even know where it was located. now they are supporters of the republic of korea and is still looking for reunification. i think that is the background
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of the alliance we are celebrating july 27, the anniversary of the armistice and u.s.-korea alliance. >> he said the average age was 83, 60 years ago 1953 in the signing of the armistice. many of these men were in their early 20's. do the veterans still have an active interest in what is going on in south korea and north korea? >> absolutely. by the 1980's, korea accomplished simultaneous economic development and democracy. they now see what they did. what korea is now is all their sacrifices. obviously, the korean people achieved it, but we could not do it without their sacrifice. they support what we are doing my foundation. they think this is the most effective and economical way and
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permanent way to preserve their legacy. >> i think you mentioned funding a little bit in terms of doing the interviews. what are some of the challenges when you go to do these interviews? >> you may be surprised to hear this, but there are officially 2.1 million korean war veterans in the united states, even though they were not in the korean theater at the time. they are officially designated as veterans. there are many more that fought their. i cannot do it by myself. it requires a lot of financial basis. i want to see many who agreed to this idea coming as a missionary of this foundation. go to the local village and find the korean war veterans and do the interviews on what i am doing. then we can expand it. i am working with the descendents of the korean war veterans in 20 participating
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countries, in addition to the united states. they may work with me to collect more interviews and artifacts. bill: what other countries have significant amounts of korean war veterans? professor han: england is the second-biggest. also turkey, thailand, greece, columbia. these are the countries that sent and fought fiercely to defend freedom. there are many countries. canada, new zealand, australia. these are the countries that sent a lot of soldiers. bill: who is the audience and how do you hope they will best be used? professor han: let's multiply 10 to the korean war veteran family


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