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May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month

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

This celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States originated with congress in June of 1978 with the House Joint Resolution 1007 introduced by Rep. Frank Horton of New York. This resolution proposed that the President should:

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’

This joint resolution was passed by the House and then the Senate and was signed by President Jimmy Carter on October 5, 1978 to become Public Law 95-419

It wasn’t until 1992 with the passage of Public Law 102-450 that the full month of May was designated as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.








































The Law Library of Congress has compiled guides to commemorative observations, including an inventory of the Public Laws, Presidential Proclamations and congressional resolutions related to the Month.

Additional resources from the Library of Congress:

More information can be accessed here from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Asian American Commission!


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