May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month

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Provided by Prince William County

The first Japanese immigrants set foot on U.S. soil on May 7, 1843. The Transcontinental Railroad was completed on May 10, 1869, and most of the men who laid the tracks for the railroad were Chinese.

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month was chosen to fall in May to commemorate and celebrate the contributions Asian/Pacific Americans have made to the country and to explore the stories, culture, traditions and history of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans.

In June 1978, Rep. Frank Horton of New York introduced a bill requesting that the president proclaim May 7 through May 10 as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week to include the two important dates of May 7 and 10. The resolution passed, and President Jimmy Carter signed it on Oct. 5, 1978. In 1992, Congress passed a resolution designating May as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.

The Library of Congress, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Archives and Records Administration, the National Park Service, the National Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian Institution and the United States Holocaust Museum have teamed up to recognize the contributions of generations of Asian/Pacific Island Americans and how they have influenced the history of the United States.

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