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  • ASIAN AMERICANS AND PACIFIC ISLANDERS IN HISTORY


    Every year, May is designated as Asian American and Pacific Islander History Month by Presidential proclamation. The month is set aside to honor Asian American's and Pacific Islander's contributions to American history and culture.

    The Origins of AAPI Month
    AAPI History Month (formerly known as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month) began because of the advocacy and efforts of Jeanie Jew, a former congressional staffer. Jeanie Jew first approached Representative Frank Horton with the idea in the late 1970s, following the United States bicentennial celebrations. In 1978 a joint resolution was signed by Jimmy Carter for the creation of Asian-Pacific American Week, which was later expanded to the Asian Pacific Heritage Month in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush. This final expansion was approved two years later. Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month is held in the month of May to commemorate the first Japanese American to arrive on May 7, 1843, as well as to commemorate the final spike of the Transcontinental Railroad being driven on May 10, 1869. 

    Read More about Jeanie Jew Here.

     

    NOTABLE PEOPLE IN AAPI HISTORY 


     

    Queen Liliuokalani


    Queen Liliuokalani was the sovereign and only queen regnant of the Kingdom of Hawai`i, ruling from January 29, 1891, until the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom by a coalition of American businessmen on January 17, 1893. 

    Read more about Queen Liliuokalani

    Image Credit: Queen Liliuokalani. Photographed around 1891 by James J. Williams (Source: Honolulu Star-bulletin., November 12, 1917, 3:30 Edition, Page 3). Public Domain

    Queen Liliuokalani

    Duke Kahanamoku


    Duke Kahanamoku, in full Duke Paoa Kahinu Mokoe Hulikohola Kahanamoku, (born August 26, 1890, near Waikiki, Hawaii), was a Hawaiian surfer and swimmer who won three Olympic gold medals for the United States and who for several years was considered the greatest freestyle swimmer in the world. 

    Read more about Duke Kahanamoku

    Image credit: "Shangri la Duke Kahanamoku" by Sterin is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    Duke Kahanamoku

    Dalip Singh Saund


    Dalip Singh Saund (September 20, 1899 – April 22, 1973) was an American politician who was a member of the United States House of Representatives. He served the 29th District of California from January 3, 1957, to January 3, 1963. He was the first Asian American, and the first Indian American and the first member of a non-Abrahamic faith to be elected to the United States Congress.

    Read more about Dalip Singh Saund

    Image credit: Public Domain

    Dalip Singh Saund

    Tammy Duckworth


    Tammy Duckworth is a United States Senator who was born in Thailand in 1968 and moved to the United States when she was 16 with her Thai mother and American father. An Iraq war veteran and double amputee, Tammy Duckworth is the first Thai American woman and first disabled woman elected to U.S. congress.

    Read more about Tammy Duckworth

     Source: Wikipedia

     Photo Credit:  "Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth Visits College of DuPage 24" by COD Newsroom is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    Tammy Duckworth

    Yoko Ono


    Yoko Ono is a Japanese-American visual and performance artist who made instrumental contributions to the the conceptual art movement of the 1960's. Although her public persona sometimes became complicated by her marriage to John Lennon, Yoko Ono has and continues to be an undeniable force in the world of art, filmmaking, and music.

    Read more about Yoko Ono.

    Source: Museum of Modern Art

    Yoko Ono

    Yo-Yo Ma


    Yo-Yo Ma is an American cellist. Born in Paris, France, to Chinese parents and educated in New York City, United States, Ma was a child prodigy, performing from the age of four and a half. He graduated from The Juilliard School and Harvard University and has performed as a soloist with orchestras around the world. He has recorded more than 90 albums and received 18 Grammy Awards.

    Read more about Yo-Yo Ma. 

    Source: Wikipedia Image Credit:"Yo-Yo Ma" by ralph and jenny is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    Yo-Yo Ma

    Anna May Wong


    Appearing in over sixty movies throughout her career, Anna May Wong was the first Chinese American film star in Hollywood. In addition to her roles in silent films, television, and stage, Wong landed a role in one of the first movies made in Technicolor. Internationally recognized, her legacy continues to influence entertainers around the world.

    Read more about Anna May Wong.

     Image Credit: "Anna May Wong" by ADiamondFellFromTheSky is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0 Source: Biography.com

    Anna May Wong

    Malala Yousafzai


    As a young girl, Malala Yousafzai defied the Taliban in Pakistan and demanded that girls be allowed to receive an education. She was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in 2012 but survived. In 2014, she became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

    Read more about Malala Yousafzai.

    Image credit: "Malala Yousafzai" by Southbank Centre London is licensed under CC BY 2.0 Source: Biography.com

    Malala Yousafzai

    Philip Vera Cruz


    Philip Vera Cruz (December 25, 1904 – June 12, 1994) was a Filipino American labor leader, farmworker, and leader in the Asian American movement. He helped found the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC), which later merged with the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) to become the United Farm Workers (UFW). As the union's long-time second vice president, he worked to improve the working conditions of migrant workers.

    Read more about Philip Vera Cruz.

     Source: Wikipedia

    Philip Vera Cruz

    First Female Vice President: Vice President Kamala Harris


    January 20, 2021

    In 2021, Kamala Harris became the vice president of the United States, making her the first female vice president and the first Black and Asian American woman to hold this position.

    In 2016, Kamala Harris became the second African American woman and the first South Asian American to win a seat in the U.S. Senate. 

    Read more about Vice President Kamala Harris. 

    Image credit: Michael Perez of the Associated Press

    Vice President Kamala Harris

    References

    Reference: Asian Pacific American Heritage Month - Wikipedia
    Guide Credits: This guide was created by Morgan Franklin