Our American Journey: Stories from King/Drew Magnet High School Students


In November 2012, the Smithsonian Institution invited the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) to participate in a project called, “Our American Journey.” JANM worked with ninth graders from Los Angeles’ King/Drew Magnet High School of Medicine and Science to investigate artifacts and family stories related to immigration and migration. Under the guidance of Ms. Agena, their amazing English teacher, they found some inspiration in the video shorts showcasing Japanese American National Museum volunteers sharing their own family stories. (Here is one of the videos that they saw. And you can see all of the volunteer shorts in this Discover Nikkei album .)

These students visited JANM to hone their object analysis skills within JANM’s Common Ground: The Heart of Community on-going exhibition. Everybody at JANM and the Smithsonian Institution really enjoyed working with these ninth graders; we learned so much from Ms. Agena and her students.

This album is just a sampling of the narratives that the students wrote. It hints at the diversity of Los Angeles, and the diversity of our nation. We hope that this album will inspire you to learn more about your own family’s stories of immigration and migration.


The students’ essays were created as part of a pilot project between King/Drew Magnet High School of Medicine and Science, the Japanese American National Museum, and the Smithsonian Institution’s Our American Journey Project. OAJ is a multi-year project that will examine international and internal migration centered on what we understand today to be the United States.

Photo by Gary Ono

Slides in this album 

Album Type

online exhibition

kingdrewstories — Last modified Jun 28 2021 1:49 a.m.

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