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Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month: Home

AAPI Heritage Month Origin

"May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month – a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. A rather broad term, Asian/Pacific encompasses all of the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia (New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands), Micronesia (Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru and the Federated States of Micronesia) and Polynesia (New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Easter Island)."

In 1977, Representative of New York Frank Horton, introduced a House resolution requesting the President to proclaim the first 10 days of May as Asian-Pacific Heritage Week. In that same year Senator Daniel Inouye introduced a similar resolution, but neither passed. In June of 1978 Representative Horton introduced another House resolution, which requested the President to “proclaim a week, which is to include the seventh and tenth of the month, during the first ten days in May of 1979 as ‘Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week." The Resolution passed the House and the Senate and was signed by President Jimmy Carter on October 5,1978. In 1990 Congress passed a law, that expanded the observance to a month, instead of a week. In 1992, Congress passed another law that designated May as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.

"The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants."

image from National Archives Catalog and text from the AAPI Heritage Month Library of Congress website

AAPI Prominent Figures

video from ABC News YouTube Channel

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For more information about Asian American and Pacific Islander Month, check out these library resources!


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