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In honor of US Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, today's Doodle celebrates the life and work of Corky Lee, Chinese American photographer, journalist, and activist whose photos recorded the diversity and nuances of the Asian Pacific American community often overlooked by mainstream media. On this day in 1988, May 5th was proclaimed to be “Corky Lee Day” in honor of his lifelong contributions to New York City’s communities.
Lee was born in Queens, New York City to Chinese immigrant parents on September 5th, 1947. When he was in school as a young boy, he learned about the transcontinental railroad in social studies class. During the lesson, he saw a photo that celebrated the completion of the railroad—but noticed a lack of representation for the thousands of Chinese laborers who helped build it. Lee later shared that this event inspired his life’s work. He went on to teach himself photography and attended Queens College to study history.
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