On August 3, Governor Ralph Northam announced five new historical markers highlighting Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) History in Virginia. Two of the new markers are local, including one in Williamsburg. The markers were submitted by students throughout Virginia in an inaugural contest in honor of AAPI Heritage Month.
“Throughout history, Asian American and Pacific Islander communities have made significant contributions to our commonwealth and our country, but too often their stories remain untold,” the governor said in a release. “As we continue working to tell a more comprehensive and inclusive Virginia story, I am grateful for the efforts of Virginia students and educators in helping elevate the voices of prominent AAPI Virginians with these five new historical markers.”
Students from Cumberland Middle School in Cumberland suggested an historical marker in honor of Arthur Azo Matsu, who was the first Asian American student at College of William & Mary, where he graduated in 1927. Matsu was the son of a Scottish mother and a Japanese father, and was a leader on campus. He was also the first Japanese-American football player in the National Football League, and was a quarterback for the Tribe.
Also in Hampton Roads, a marker in Virginia Beach was announced that will honor Filipino members of the U.S. Navy who have served in Hampton Roads since the Civil War.
Other historical markers announced are in Salem, Charlottesville, and Falls Church.