By Chella Vaidyanathan, European/world history librarian and Erica Bruchko, US history librarian
We become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams. – Jimmy Carter
Nothing is more exciting as the process of unearthing the past to understand and appreciate the beauty and richness of our multicultural and multi-ethnic society. May is the national Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, during which we celebrate the history and culture of Asian Pacific Americans and their contributions to our country. This blog post showcases several kinds of digital primary sources, created by and for Asian Pacific American communities, which encompasses the life experiences of a broad spectrum of people.
Published Diaries, Letters, Memoirs & Autobiographies
Are you interested in checking out the published memoirs and diaries of Asian Pacific Americans in Emory’s collection? Please search our catalog, discoverE. You can search by ethnicity (Filipino American, Vietnamese American, Chinese American, Indian American, etc.) alongside the keywords diary, letters, memoir, and autobiography. Some examples are:
- Filipino American Diaries, Letters, Memoirs and Autobiographies
- Chinese American Diaries, Letters, Memoirs and Autobiographies
- Korean American Diaries, Letters, Memoirs and Autobiographies
- Pakistani American Diaries, Letters, Memoirs and Autobiographies
- Hawaiian Diaries, Letters, Memoirs and Autobiographies
If you would like to learn about the experiences of the various Asian Pacific American communities in the United States, the following collections of oral histories offer a glimpse into their daily lives.
- North American Immigrant Letters, Diaries and Oral Histories (Emory Only)
- Oral History Online (Emory Only)
- The Vietnamese American Oral History Project (Open Access)
- Korean American Digital Archive, Oral Histories (Open Access)
- University of Hawaii, Manoa, Center for Oral History (Open Access)
- South Asian Oral History Project (Open Access)
- Densho (Open Access)
Audio-visual resources make history come alive and help tell compelling stories about Asian Pacific American communities. Apart from documents, personal papers, newspaper clippings, many primary source databases often contain an image category with photographs, posters, drawings, etc. The following are a few examples:
- Digital Public Library of America (Open Access) Primary sources from libraries and archives across the United States.
Japanese American Relocation Digital Archive (Open Access) Primary sources regarding the internment of Japanese Americans form the Online Archives of California.
- South Asian American Digital Archive (Open Access) Sources on the South Asian diaspora from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and many other nations.
- SEEAAdoc and Southeast Asian Archive Documents on the Southeast Asian experience from UC Irvine.
- The Vietnamese American Heritage Project Documents the social and political history of Vietnamese Americans in the post-War period.
- Oxford College Collection of Asian Artifacts Contains a variety of Japanese, Korean, and Chinese artifacts, most of them purchased in Kobe, Japan by William Patillo Turner while he was a member of the Japan Mission of the United Methodist Church, South. These objects have been digitized and can be viewed from anywhere!
Community & Organizational Records
Databases contain the records of community organizations and Asian American advocacy groups. Here are some select examples from Emory’s primary source databases:
Asian Student Union Records, UC Berkeley. The Rock and Roll, Counterculture, Peace and Protest (Adam Matthew) database contains records of Asian American student organizing at Berkeley in the 1970s. You can find additional materials related to the Asian American experience by searching across multiple Adam Matthew Databases with the search engine Archive Explorer.
Asian Americans for Community Involvement Records. Founded in 1973 and still in operation, Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI) worked to improve the health, mental health, and well-being of individuals and their families by providing an array of human services. The Archives of Sexuality and Gender (Gale) database contains pamphlets form the 1990s related to the AIDS epidemic and the Asian American community. You can find additional materials related to the Asian American experience by searching across multiple Gale Databases with Artemis Primary Sources. To learn about other primary source databases, please check out our Asian American Studies LibGuide
Newspapers & Print Media
Asian and Pacific American newspapers have played an important role in creating and sustaining Asian American communities in the United States. Papers such as the long-running International Examiner from Seattle Washington and the widely circulating AsianWeek from San Francisco spoke to Asian Americans’ experiences in the United States and also offered news related to residents countries of origin. In addition, papers played an activist role in supporting Asian Americans and pushing against stereotypes present in white dominated media sources. As AsianWeek editor James Fang explained, his newspaper “acted as a forum in advocating for those Asian Americans who were defenseless and voiceless in the face of an uncaring power.” “Whether it was in bringing much-needed national and decisive exposure…[to events] or demanding justice [for Asian American actors],” the strength of the newspaper was “its unequivocal eagerness to support our community.” http://community.worldheritage.org/articles/eng/AsianWeek
To learn about other news databases, please check out our Asian American Studies LibGuide https://guides.libraries.emory.edu/AsianAmericanStudies/Newspapers.