Image Courtesy of the State Library of Massachusetts

May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month, a time to recognize the generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders who have enriched America’s history and are instrumental in its future success.

Asian/Pacific encompasses all of the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia (New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands), Micronesia (Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru and the Federated States of Micronesia) and Polynesia (New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Easter Island).

This week, the State Library of Massachusetts has posted a blog recounting the history of the Commonwealth’s interactions with Asian countries, going back to the Revolutionary War, and with the rich variety of Asian immigrants who settled here.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 population estimates, the Asian-American population in Massachusetts is 448,000, representing 6.6% of residents, with significant numbers in Quincy, Lowell, Malden, Lexington, Brookline, Cambridge, Burlington and Boston.

Massachusetts has an Asian-American Commission, a permanent body that works to recognize and highlight the vital contributions of Asian Americans to the social, cultural and political life of the Commonwealth.

The Peabody Essex Museum in Salem has one of the foremost collections of Asian art in North America.

The five-hour PBS series, Asian Americans, is airing this week on WGBH in Boston.

Nationally, read about how Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month is celebrated at Library of Congress and the National Park Service.