Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (May)

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (May)
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (May)

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month originated with a congressional bill. It is celebrated in May with community events that involve historical, educational, and cultural activities, and the recognition of famous Asian Americans in such fields as architecture, entertainment, athletics, education, art, and science.

 MUCH LIKE Black History Month and Women’s History Month, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month originated with a congressional bill. Two Representatives introduced the bill to the House of Representatives and two senators introduced the bill to the Senate. Both of them passed, and U.S. President Jimmy Carter officially recognized Asian/Pacific Heritage Week on October 5, 1978. Several years later, in May 1990, President George H. W. Bush expanded it to a month, and designated it as Asian Pacific Heritage Month. The month of May was chosen in honor of the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants to the United States on May 7, 1843 and also the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869.

 May is celebrated with community events that involve historical, educational, and cultural activities, and the recognition of famous Asian Americans in such fields as architecture, entertainment, athletics, education, art, and science. One historical period often discussed in school curricula in May is the building of the first railroad that spanned the American continent. This railroad, largely built by Chinese immigrants, is considered one of the crowning achievements of President Abraham Lincoln, even though it was completed four years after his death. To build the railroad, the Union Pacific Railroad began in Nebraska, and worked westward through Colorado and Wyoming to Utah. At the same time, the Central Pacific Railroad began in California, and moved eastward through Nevada to Utah, carving out places for railroad tracks in high mountain peaks. The two railroad companies met in the town of Promontary, Utah, where they drove in the final “golden spike” that brought together the east and west coasts of the American continent. This feat revolutionized the economy and population of the U.S. It caused the wagon trains to be obsolete, and affected commerce, trade, and travel across the continent.