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Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Welcome to the Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month research guide!

This research guide was designed to celebrate Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month (May) and to highlight both RCBC Library's resources and other freely available resources for our students.

The words 'Asian Pacific American Heritage Month' in a green box over the image of a pink flower.

Importance of May

Why was May selected as Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month? 

May was selected because of its historical significance:   

  • May 7, 1843 - The 1st immigrant from Japan arrived in the United States. 
  • May 10, 1869 - The Transcontinental Railroad was completed.  The majority of workers who completed the railroad were Chinese immigrants.  


Creation of

A brief history of Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month:

  • 1976 - Jennie Jew approached US Representatives to dedicate a month to Asian Pacific Americans
  • 1977 - US Representatives Horton & Minetas introduced a resolution for the first 10 days of May to be designated "Asian-Pacific Heritage Week"
  • 1978 - President Jimmy Carter signed the joint resolution for the celebration (PL 95-419)
  • 1990 - President George H. W. Bush signed a bill to extend celebration from a week to a month (PL101-283)
  • 1992 - May officially becomes an annual celebration of "Asian/Pacific American Month" (PL 102-450) 
  • 2009 - President Barack Obama signed Proclamation 8369 to designate May as "Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month" 

(Sources: ;; 

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