NARA Celebrates Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month

05/28/2015 12:00 am

Each May, the nation celebrates Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, which honors the perseverance, courage, and impact of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community on our nation. This year’s theme, “Asian-Pacific Americans Are Everywhere,” underscores the global contributions of these Americans.


On October 5, 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed House Joint Resolution 540 designating one week in May as Asian-Pacific Heritage Week. In 1990, President George H. W. Bush extended the celebration for the entire month of May. In 1992, H.R. 5572 was signed into law, officially designating the entire month of May as Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month.

May was selected to commemorate two significant anniversaries. Nakahama Manjir? became the first documented Japanese person to live in the United States on May 7, 1843. And on May 10, 1869, Chinese laborers helped complete the transcontinental railroad.

Asian-Pacific American Records at NARA

Asian-Pacific Americans ARE everywhere at the National Archives. Our records document some of the brightest, darkest, and most contentious moments in our nation’s history, including case files relating to the Chinese Exclusion Act; records of the War Relocation Authority and internment of Japanese Americans during World War II; and the personnel files of members of the Philippine Guerrilla forces during World War II.

Numerous finding aids and online resources have been created by NARA staff to increase access to these records. They include: 

Furthermore, I would like to highlight two recent contributions to Asian American and Pacific Islander history made by NARA staff:

Other Federal resources include:

DAVID S. FERRIERO Archivist of the United States