May 1 2023

Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month

Asian Immigrants Arriving at Angel IslandAsian Immigrants Arriving at Angel Island

Asian Immigrants Arriving at Angel Island
In the early 1900s, most immigrants from Asia arrived at Angel Island, located in California’s San Francisco Bay.

Since 1992, Americans have celebrated May as Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month. It is a time to celebrate the contributions that people of Asian and Pacific Islander background have made to the United States.

The month of May was chosen to honor two events in Asian-American history. These two events are the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants in the United States on May 7, 1843, and the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad on May 10, 1869. Many Chinese workers helped build the Transcontinental Railroad.

In 1978, President Jimmy Carter declared the first ten days of May as Asian-Pacific American Heritage Week. On October 28, 1992, President George H.W. Bush signed a law that extended the week to a month.

Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month is celebrated with festivals, parades, and other community events. These events help teach us about the importance of Asian-American history and culture.

Image credit: National Archives at College Park, Still Pictures Division
Question 1
In which year did the first Japanese immigrants arrive in the United States?

Question 2
Why is the Transcontinental Railroad important to Asian-American history?

Question 3
Which President signed Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month into law?

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