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Asian American Heritage Month

May 9, 2023

Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month: Teaching with Videos


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Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AA and NHPI) is a month long celebration of the history, culture, traditions and achievements of the AA and NHPI communities. It is observed every May in the United States.

The history of celebrating the AA and NHPI communities can be traced back to 1977 when U.S. Rep. Frank Horton of New York introduced a resolution to establish Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week. The resolution was passed by the House of Representatives, but it did not pass the Senate.

In 1978, Rep. Horton introduced a similar resolution passed by both houses of Congress. This law directed the president to issue a proclamation designating the week beginning on May 4, 1979, as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week. It was signed by President Jimmy Carter on March 28, 1979. Over the next 10 years, Presidents Carter, Reagan and George H.W. Bush continued to annually issue proclamations designating a week in May as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week. President George H.W. Bush issued Presidential Proclamation 6130 designating May 1990 as the first “Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month and on Oct. 23, 1992, Congress passed the law designating the month of May as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.

Each year, the month is celebrated with various cultural events, festivals, parades and exhibits across the U.S. The Federal Asian Pacific American Council (FAPAC), announced that the national 2023 theme for the observance of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is “Advancing Leaders Through Opportunity.”  It is a time to celebrate and recognize the many achievements of the AA and NHPI communities.

Check out these websites to learn more: UntoldEdu History Channel on YouTube, and follow up on Instagram and Twitter @UntoldEdu.

Patsy Mink: Changing the Rules

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Patsy Mink: Groundbreaking Congresswomen

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Questions to ask:

  • What was the significance of the Title IX legislation that Patsy Mink co-authored in 1972?
  • What inspired Patsy Mink to pursue a career in politics, and what were some of the challenges she faced as a woman and a person of color in a predominantly male and white political arena?
  • How did Patsy Mink's personal experiences as a Japanese American who grew up during World War II shape her worldview and her approach to politics?

Chien-Shiung Wu: The First Lady of Physics

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Questions to ask:

  • What is the Wu experiment, and why is it significant in the field of physics?
  • What was the political climate like in the U.S. during the time that Chien-Shiung Wu was conducting her research, and how did this affect her work?
  • How did Chien-Shiung Wu's work challenge prevailing notions about gender and race in the field of science, and what impact did it have on subsequent generations of scientists?

Anna May Wong: Hollywood’s First Asian American Movie Star

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Questions to ask:

  • What was the significance of Anna May Wong's role in the 1924 film The Thief of Bagdad, and how did it influence the portrayal of Asians in Hollywood films?
  • How did Anna May Wong use her platform as an actress to advocate for greater representation and opportunities for Asian Americans in the entertainment industry?
  • How did Anna May Wong's career and life reflect broader issues of racism and discrimination against Asian Americans in American society during her time?

Coast to Coast: American’s First Transcontinental Railroad

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Questions to ask:

  • How did Chinese immigrants come to be recruited to work on the railroad, and what were the working conditions?
  • How can we honor the contributions of Chinese immigrants to the construction of the railroad and work toward greater inclusivity and equity for Asian Americans and other marginalized communities in our society?
  • What parallels can we draw between the experiences of Chinese immigrants on the railroad and other historical and contemporary examples of immigrant labor and exploitation?

Asian American and Native Hawaiian / Pacific Islander Heritage

Join the Share My Lesson community in celebrating the generations of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans who have enriched global society, playing a critical role in its development and success. With our wealth of prek-12 digital resources, you and your students can explore the remarkable contributions that AANHPI Americans have given to history, culture, the sciences, industry, government and more.

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Untold History
Untold History explores stories, people and artifacts that students won’t learn about in an ordinary text book. Perhaps now more than ever, our history is a vital and very present part of the world around us. So it’s hugely important that young people feel a part of that conversation and can see... See More

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