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Special Feature

2011 Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month 2011

Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month 2011

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is a month to celebrate and pay tribute to the contributions generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders have made to American history, society and culture.


Like most commemorative months, Asian-Pacific Heritage Month originated in a congressional bill. In June 1977, Reps. Frank Horton of New York and Norman Y. Mineta of California introduced a House resolution that called upon the president to proclaim the first ten days of May as Asian-Pacific Heritage Week. The following month, senators Daniel Inouye and Spark Matsunaga introduced a similar bill in the Senate. Both were passed. On October 5, 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed a Joint Resolution designating the annual celebration. Twelve years later, President George H.W. Bush signed an extension making the week-long celebration into a month-long celebration. In 1992, the official designation of May as Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month was signed into law.


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


• 2011 Theme: Diversity, Leadership, Empowerment and Beyond   





- Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month Homepage – Library of Congress

- U.S. Census: Facts for Features on Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month

- White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

- National Endowment for the Humanities

- Smithsonian Institution’s Asian Pacific American Program

- National Park Service: Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month 2011


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