American Icons: Uncle Tom, John Henry, & “Kind of Blue”

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This week we bring you three American Icons, stories from our series on works of art that changed the way we think about America. In myth and song, John Henry was a railroad worker who raced the machine that was going to steal his job. He won the race, but it killed him. What does that say about the American work ethic? Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel "Uncle Tom’s Cabin" spurred the abolitionist movement — but the title character is now a vicious slur used against African-Americans. How did that happen? And we find out why Miles Davis’s "Kind of Blue" became the one jazz record that even non-jazz fans own.