Skip to main content
Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month
Email share

May is Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month and PBS North Carolina is thrilled to showcase new documentaries alongside recently released series. Watch on our channels and stream online and on the PBS Video app.

Read more for this month’s programs, events and resources, and join our observation of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

Tune In | New to PBS NC in May

American Masters

Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir

Monday, May 3, 9 PM on PBS NC 
Streaming Now Online and on the PBS Video App

This intimate portrait of the groundbreaking writer interweaves home movies and personal photographs with animation and original interviews to tell the inspiring story of Tan’s life and career. 

Watch with PBS NC Passport | Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir

Independent Lens

The Donut King

Monday, May 24, 10 PM on PBS NC and the PBS Video App

An immigrant story with a (glazed) twist, The Donut King follows the journey of Cambodian refugee Ted Ngoy, who arrived in California in the 1970s and, through diligence and luck, built a multi-million dollar donut empire up and down the West Coast.

Watch Now | The Donut King

Explore More | NC Channel Specials

American Experience

The Chinese Exclusion Act

Sunday, May 2, 8:30 PM on the North Carolina Channel

Examine the origin, history and impact of the 1882 law that made it illegal for Chinese workers to come to America or for Chinese nationals already here to ever become U.S. citizens. The first in a long line of acts targeting the Chinese, it remained in force for over 60 years.

Asian Americans

Airing Sundays at 8:30 PM, starting May 9, on the North Carolina Channel
Streaming Now Online, on the PBS Video App and on YouTube

This five-hour film series delivers a bold, fresh historical perspective, now more relevant than ever as America becomes more diverse and divided. Told through intimate personal stories, the series casts a new lens on U.S. history and the ongoing role that Asian Americans play.

Explore more content from the film on the official website.

Watch Now | Asian Americans Part 1: Breaking Ground



Sunday, May 23, 9:30 PM on the North Carolina Channel

In 1979, a fatal shooting ignited a maelstrom of hostilities against Vietnamese refugee fishermen along the Gulf Coast. Set during the early days of Vietnamese refuge in the U.S., the film examines this turbulent yet little-seen chapter of American history, and explores the consequences that reverberate today.

Watch Preview | Seadrift

Watch Now | Streaming Online and on the PBS Video App


Abacus: Small Enough to Jail

From acclaimed director Steve James, this little-known story of the only U.S. bank prosecuted for the 2008 financial crisis was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2018. 

Watch Now | Abacus: Small Enough to Jail

American Experience

Mr. Tornado

Mr. Tornado is the remarkable story of Ted Fujita, whose groundbreaking work in research and applied science saved thousands and helped Americans surmount dangerous weather phenomena.

Watch Now | Mr. Tornado

Independent Lens

Out of State

Streaming through May 31, 2021

Two native Hawaiians sent thousands of miles away to a private prison in the desert find a community of other native Hawaiians and learn indigenous traditions from an inmate serving a life sentence. After finishing their terms and returning to Hawai'i, the men struggle with life on the outside and wonder if it’s possible to ever go home again.

Watch Now | Out of State

Join Us | Events and More Resources


Thursday, May 27, 7 PM

A People's History of Asian American Screening and Panel Discussion

Join us for this special screening with PBS Digital Studios, North Carolina Asian Americans Together, and Center for Asian America Media as we celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month and showcase a new series from PBS Digital Studios, A People’s History of Asian America, unpacking micro-aggressions towards AAPI and their roots in American history.

Following the screening we will host a panel discussion with local members of the Asian American Pacific Islander community and organizations including Chavi Khanna Koneru, co-founder and executive director of North Carolina Asian Americans Together and others. The conversation will cover history, racism and current events. We invite you to participate in the conversation and submit questions for our panelists via the chat feature in the virtual event.