American Icons

The stories behind America’s most iconic works of art. Produced by PRI, and supported in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

American Icons: 'The Migration Series' by Jacob Lawrence

American Icons: ‘The Migration Series’ by Jacob Lawrence

American Icons

Jacob Lawrence’s epic series of paintings shows the northward journey of millions of African Americans from the Jim Crow South to cities in the North.

The book and its author in 1998.

American Icons: ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’

American Icons
Flowers are seen on the star of late singer Selena Quintanilla-Perez after it was unveiled on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles, California, on November 3, 2017.

What Selena’s life and legacy tell us about Latinx identity today

American Icons: “12 Angry Men”

American Icons: ‘12 Angry Men’

American Icons
Commander David Bowman (Keir Dullea) in Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

American Icons: ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ — Part Two

American Icons
Actor Gary Lockwood on set with director Stanley Kubrick during the filming of “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

American Icons: ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ — Part One

American Icons

It’s HAL’s world — we just live in it.

American Icons: The Ripley Novels

American Icons: The ‘Ripley’ novels

American Icons

Decades before such problematic protagonists as Don Draper and Walter White reinvented themselves, there was Tom Ripley.

Willa Cather in a 1921 Rinehart Marsden portrait.

American Icons: ‘My Ántonia’

American Icons

Setting the record straight on Willa Cather’s misunderstood 1918 masterpiece.

An icon of American horror.

American Icons: The tales of Edgar Allan Poe

American Icons

These are the stories that introduced America to its dark side.

The 1966 album “96 Tears” from ? and the Mysterians.

American Icons: ‘96 Tears’

American Icons

How a group of Mexican American teenagers in the 1960s may have spawned punk rock.