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Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month: Home

Resources related to the contributions of Asian American and Pacific Islander communities at WPI's Gordon Library

Month of Celebration

     A message from WPI President Laurie Leshin:

     Standing with Asian, Asian-American, and Pacific Islander Communities

History of Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month

Asian/Pacific Heritage Month

In 1978, Representative Frank Horton (NY) and Senator Daniel Inouye (HI) introduced House Joint Resolution 1007 which requested the President declare an "Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week."  On October 5, 1978, President Jimmy Carter proclaimed the first Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week be celebrated in May 1979 as part of Public Law 95-419.  Each year, the President would issue a proclamation to celebrate Asian/Pacific Heritage Week during May.

In 1990, Congress expanded the celebration from one week to one month and in 1992 passed Public Law 102-450 which designates each May as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.  May was chosen to celebrate the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants to the United States on May 7, 1843 and to mark the completion of the transcontinental railway on May 10, 1869, which was constructed primarily by Chinese immigrants.

Each year, Gordon Library joins the world in honoring the legacy and culture of Americans descended from the Asian continent and the Pacific Islands of:  Melanesia, Micronesia, Polynesia Zealand, the Hawaiian Islands, Midway Islands, Samoan Islands, Cook Islands, French Polynesia, and Easter Island.

To learn more:

National Archives

National Endowment for the Humanities

National Park Service

Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center