Click to search the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library Skip Navigation

Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month: History and Resources


Dramatic Group, Digital ID 1150630, New York Public LibraryDramatic Group, Digital ID 1150630, New York Public LibraryMay is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month. This month celebrates the contributions of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States.

In 1978, Congress passed a joint congressional resolution to observe and honor Asian American Heritage week during the first week of May. Historically, Asians have played an important role in American history. The week celebrates two anniversaries: the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants on May 7th, 1843 and the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in the U.S. by the Chinese on May 10th, 1869. These events marked a great change in America and also reflected the significant contributions of Asians to America.

Presidents Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama "have annually issued proclamations designating May as 'Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month'" and on May 1st 2009, President Obama issued Presidential Proclamation 8369 which recalls the challenges faced by Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and celebrates their great and significant contributions to our society." 

Map of Asia ..., Digital ID 1630432, New York Public LibraryMap of Asia

This month celebrates Asians and Pacific Islanders from the Asian continent to the Pacific Islands which include: 

  • 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)
  • Polynesia (New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Easter Island). 

Like other immigrant groups that arrived in America for better opportunities, Asian-Pacific Americans also struggled but made significant contributions to the U.S. Today Asian-Pacific Americans are playing a vital role in shaping our community and nation: in the arts, sports, political policies and beyond. These notable Asian-Pacific Americans include:

Through our programs and collections at NYPL, we also celebrate Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month! 

Read more about our interview with Author Lauryn Chun on making kimchi >> 


Patron-generated content represents the views and interpretations of the patron, not necessarily those of The New York Public Library. For more information see NYPL's Website Terms and Conditions.

Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month

This is a very nice online exhibit. I like the way the links to the program and collections is embedded in the text. Text and graphics are attractively displayed, the page is not too long, and entries quickly engage the reader. One question: why was John Cho not mentioned along with Kal Penn? The two actors are both Asian American.


Thanks for pointing that out, I have no idea why I left that out but in any case, it has been updated!

Post new comment