Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Resource Recap

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and all of this month we have been highlighting resources to learn more about the many Asian American and Pacific Islander contributions and the issues they face. Below we recap those resources and add a few more!

Law Library Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month Display

2023 Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage month

Our May exhibit, curated by Rhonda Wiseman, spotlighted monographs from our collection that focus on the history and journey of Asian American and Pacific Islanders, as well as their contributions to the legal community and beyond.

Establishment of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

After decades of celebrating Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week, Congress finally passed Public Law 102-450 which annually designated May as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month. The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869.

Learn more about the establishment of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month by visiting the Law Library of Congress guide to the laws and presidential proclamations related to establishing and designating Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month (May).

Read President Biden’s 2023 Proclamation on Asian American, Native Hawaiian, And Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

Selected Resources about Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and the Legal Profession

ABA, Asian American and Pacific Islander Legal Trailblazers

Learn about leaders in activism and the legal profession who are of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage.

May ABA-Wide 21-Day Racial Equity Habit-Building Challenge © AAPI Heritage Month

The goal of the Challenge is to assist each of us to become more aware, compassionate, constructive, engaged people in the quest for racial equity, and specifically to learn more about the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. It transcends our roles as lawyers. Non-lawyers are also welcome to participate.

ABA, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month 2021 Webinar Series

In this series by the Section for Civil Rights and Social Justice and the Coalition on Racial and Ethnic Justice, dive into the experiences of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. Take a look inside the social, political, and economic issues they have and continue to face.

  • History & the Law: Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Context
  • Pandemic Technology Surveillance: Privacy Rights, Health Security and the Undocumented
  • The Model Minority Myth: The Impact on AAPIs in the Legal Profession and Beyond
  • Building Asian American and Black Solidarity for Racial Justice in Today’s America
  • Invisible Apartheid: What You Need to Know to Be an Ally in The Fight Against Caste Discrimination
  • Native Hawaiian Identity, Rights and Policy Issues
  • Intersection of Identities: Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and the Asian American and Pacific Islander Experience
  • Dignity Rights in Asia: Humanitarian Toll of Economic Sanctions

A Portrait of Asian Americans in the Law 2.0

Published by the American Bar Foundation and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, A Portrait of Asian Americans in the Law 2.0 is a deeper exploration of the reasons for and potential solutions to the current challenges facing the Asian American legal community.

NALP 2022 Report on Diversity (PDF)

The NALP statistics include Asian and Native American or other Pacific Islander partners and associates. The Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander category was added in 2008. Prior to 2008, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander partners were included in the figures for Asian partners.

U.S. Courts, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month is observed throughout May to pay tribute to the achievements of generations who have contributed to American life. The federal courts join in celebrating their accomplishments at every level of the Third Branch of government.

Selected Archive, and Museum Resources on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

Library of Congress Asian American and Pacific Islander Materials: A Resource Guide

This guide serves as a point of entry for researchers seeking materials in multiple formats on Asian American/Pacific Islander studies and related resources at the Library of Congress. The types of resources covered in this guide range from special collections containing photographs, diary entries, and recorded interviews to monographs, reference works, and serials.

Library of Congress, Discrimination Against Asian and Pacific Islander Americans: A Research Guide

Throughout the history of the United States, Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans have been discriminated against legally, socially, and economically. This research guide provides primary and secondary sources, in electronic and print formats, regarding historical and contemporary aspects of discrimination against Asian Americans.

Library of Congress, Behind Barbed Wire: Japanese-American Internment Camp Newspapers

Behind the barbed wire of assembly centers and relocation centers around the country during World War II, interned Japanese-Americans produced newspapers to chronicle the stories and experiences of their community in a time of crisis. The Library of Congress has made available online a rare collection of the newspapers produced by Japanese-Americans interned at assembly centers and relocation centers around the country during World War II. The collection includes more than 4,600 English and Japanese language issues published in 13 camps.

Library of Congress, Chinese Exclusion Act: Primary Documents in American History

The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was signed into law on May 6, 1882. Officially titled “An act to execute certain treaty stipulations relating to Chinese,” the Chinese Exclusion Act prohibited the immigration of Chinese laborers for ten years. It was extended in 1892 for another ten years by the Geary Act and then made permanent in 1902. In 1943, at a time when the United States and China were allies during World War II, the ban on Chinese immigration and naturalization was finally repealed.This guide compiles Library of Congress digital materials, external websites, and a print bibliography.

Library of Congress, Patsy T. Mink Papers

Congresswoman Patsy T. Mink (1927-2002) was a vigorous and tireless champion of women’s rights, an early and vocal opponent to the Vietnam War, and a leader on issues involving education, the environment, welfare, and civil rights. With her election in 1964, Mink became the first woman of color and the first Asian American woman to serve in Congress. This guide provides context for a selection of digitized materials from the Patsy T. Mink Papers in the Manuscript Division and includes related resources for researching Mink’s life and legacy.

National Archives, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

The National Archives holds a wealth of material documenting the Asian and Pacific Islander experience, and it highlights these resources online, in programs, and through traditional and social media.

The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center

The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center serves as a dynamic national resource for discovering why the Asian Pacific American experience matters every day, everywhere, and all of the time.

Selected Books and Legal Journals for Researching Asian American and Pacific Islander History and Issues

Asian American Law Journal

The Asian American Law Journal (AALJ) is one of only two law journals in the United States focusing on Asian American communities in its publication agenda. Known as the Asian Law Journal until 2007, AALJ was first published in October 1993 in a joint publication with the California Law Review. AALJ’s first independent issue was published in May 1994. AALJ serves dual purposes for the Asian Pacific American and legal communities. First, the journal sets a scholarly foundation for exploring the unique legal concerns of Asian Pacific Americans. Second, AALJ seeks to put that scholarship in action and open the dialogue between those who study law and those who are affected by it. In pursuit of these goals, AALJ strives to provide a forum for the many voices and opinions of the Asian Pacific American community through events such as its annual Spring Symposium and Neil Gotanda Lecture in Asian American Jurisprudence.

Asian Pacific American Law Journal (APALJ)

Established in 1991, the Asian Pacific American Law Journal (APALJ) is dedicated entirely to Asian Pacific American issues. APALJ is one of only two law journals in the nation that focuses exclusively on the legal issues affecting APA communities. Run by students at the UCLA School of Law, the Journal seeks to facilitate discourse on issues affecting South Asian, Southeast Asian, East Asian, and Pacific Islander communities in the United States. APALJ plays an important role by providing a forum for legal scholars, practitioners and students to communicate about emerging concerns specific to Asian Pacific Americans and by disseminating these writings to APA populations. The journal welcomes articles from academics and professionals in the field, as well as comments and case notes from law students.

Asia-Pacific Journal on Human Rights and the Law

The Asia-Pacific Journal on Human Rights and the Law offers scholars a forum in which to present comparative, international and national research dealing specifically with issues of law and human rights in the Asia-Pacific region.

Asian-Pacific Law & Policy Journal (APLPJ)

The Asian-Pacific Law and Policy Journal (APLPJ) is a web-based, American legal journal covering issues in Asia and the Pacific Rim. The APLPJ publishes articles, translations, book reviews, essays, case notes, and comments on current topics in comparative and transnational law focused on one or more of the following countries or geographic entities: Australia, Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, China (including Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Macau Special Administrative Region), East Timor, Fiji, Hawai‘i, Indonesia, Japan, Kiribati, Laos, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Mongolia, Nauru, New Zealand, North Korea, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Vietnam.

Asia Pacific Law Review (APLR)

The Asia Pacific Law Review (APLR) is the leading peer-reviewed law journal in the Asia Pacific Region. Since its first Volume was published in 1992, APLR has provided a forum for examining key legal and policy developments in the region.

Citizens of Asian America: Democracy and Race during the Cold War (e-Book)

While histories of international politics and U.S. race relations during the Cold War have largely overlooked the significance of Asian Americans, Cheng challenges the black-white focus of the existing historiography. She highlights how Asian Americans made use of the government’s desire to be leader of the “free world” by advocating for civil rights reforms, such as housing integration, increased professional opportunities, and freedom from political persecution. Further, Cheng examines the liberalization of immigration policies, which worked not only to increase the civil rights of Asian Americans but also to improve the nation’s ties with Asian countries, providing an opportunity for the U.S. government to broadcast, on a global scale, the freedom and opportunity that American society could offer.

The Color of Success: Asian Americans and the Origins of the Model Minority (e-Book)

The Color of Success tells of the astonishing transformation of Asians in the United States from the “yellow peril” to “model minorities” — peoples distinct from the white majority but lauded as well-assimilated, upwardly mobile, and exemplars of traditional family values — in the middle decades of the twentieth century. Wu provides an unprecedented view of racial reform and the contradictions of national belonging in the civil rights era. By charting the emergence of the model minority stereotype, The Color of Success reveals that this far-reaching, politically charged process continues to have profound implications for how Americans understand race, opportunity, and nationhood.

A Different Shade of Justice: Asian American Civil Rights in the South

In the Jim Crow South, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, and, later, Vietnamese and Indian Americans faced obstacles similar to those experienced by African Americans in their fight for civil and human rights. Although they were not black, Asian Americans generally were not considered white and thus were subject to school segregation, antimiscegenation laws, and discriminatory business practices. As Asian Americans attempted to establish themselves in the South, they found that institutionalized racism thwarted their efforts time and again. However, this book tells the story of their resistance and documents how Asian American political actors and civil rights activists challenged existing definitions of rights and justice in the South. From the formation of Chinese and Japanese communities in the early twentieth century through Indian hotel owners’battles against business discrimination in the 1980s and’90s, Stephanie Hinnershitz shows how Asian Americans organized carefully constructed legal battles that often traveled to the state and federal supreme courts.

Disoriented: Asian Americans, Law, and the Nation-State

In Disoriented: Asian Americans, Law, and the Nation State, Robert Chang examines the current discourse on race and law and the implications of postmodern theory and affirmative action-all of which have largely excluded Asian Americans-in order to develop a theory of critical Asian American legal studies.

Race, Rights, and the Asian American Experience (e-Book)

In Race, Rights, and the Asian American Experience, Angelo N. Ancheta demonstrates how United States civil rights laws have been framed by a black-white model of race that typically ignores the experiences of other groups, including Asian Americans. When racial discourse is limited to antagonisms between black and white, Asian Americans often find themselves in a racial limbo, marginalized or unrecognized as full participants. Ancheta examines legal and social theories of racial discrimination, ethnic differences in the Asian American population, nativism, citizenship, language, school desegregation, and affirmative action. In the revised edition of this influential book, Ancheta also covers post-9/11 anti-Asian sentiment and racial profiling. He analyzes recent legal cases involving political empowerment, language rights, human trafficking, immigrant rights, and affirmative action in higher education-many of which move the country farther away from the ideals of racial justice. On a more positive note, he reports on the progress Asian Americans have made in the corporate sector, politics, the military, entertainment, and academia. A skillful mixture of legal theories, court cases, historical events, and personal insights, this revised edition brings fresh insights to U.S. civil rights from an Asian American perspective.

Selected Databases on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders


AAPI Data is a nationally recognized publisher of demographic data and policy research on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Bibliography of Asian Studies

The BAS Online contains close to 660,000 references to books, journal articles, individually-authored monographs, chapters in edited volumes, conference proceedings, anthologies, and Festschriften, etc., published from 1971 until the present day. It encompasses the full content of the annual printed volumes of the BAS from the 1971 to the 1991 editions (the 1991 edition was the last volume available in print form). In addition, there are many references to publications after 1991, including citations to all articles from the 100 most-used journals in Asian studies (up to the present in many cases), and a substantial number of additional citations from earlier years in South Asian studies.
Coverage: 1971 – present

Digital South Asia Library (DSAL)

The Digital South Asia Library provides digital materials for reference and research on South Asia including books and journals¸ full-text dictionaries¸ bibliographies¸ images¸ maps¸ and statistical information..

Ethnic NewsWatch

Full text articles from newspapers and periodicals published by the ethnic and minority press in America¸ some dating back to 1985.

Translated and English-language radio and television broadcasts, newspapers, periodicals, government documents and books providing global insight on immigration in the mid-to-late 20th century.

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