Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English.
I'm Doug Johnson. This week:
We listen to musicians who will perform
at the inauguration of Barack Obama as the forty-fourth president of the United
about Michelle Obama and other members of the family moving into the White House …
And answer a listener question about civil rights
leader Reverend Martin Luther King Junior.
The First Family
On Tuesday, Barack Obama becomes the forty-fourth
president of the United States. Over the
past two years, he has become one of the most famous men in the world. But he did not get to the White House
alone. He is moving into Sixteen Hundred
Pennsylvania Avenue with his wife, Michelle, their two daughters and Michelle's
mother. Katherine Cole has more about the other members of the Obama family.
Obama was born and raised on the south side of Chicago, Illinois. Her father, Fraser, worked for the city's
water department. Her mother, Marian,
was a homemaker. The family did not have
a lot of money.
Obama celebrates her forty-fifth birthday Saturday, just three days before she
becomes America's First Lady. She has
had many successes in her life. She
graduated with honors from Chicago public schools, Princeton University and Harvard
University Law School. She worked for a
top law firm in Chicago where she met her future husband. She also worked for a
public service organization and for the University of Chicago.
Obama says her daughters are the source of her greatest pride. She says raising
Malia, age ten, and Sasha, age seven, will continue to be her most important
job. In fact, the next First Lady has
called her White House position, "Mom-in-Chief."
Malia and Sasha will be guided by another motherly
presence at their new Washington home. Last week, the Obamas announced that Marian Robinson would move into the
White House with the Obamas and help take care of the girls.
and Sasha started their new school, Sidwell Friends School, on January
fifth. Chelsea Clinton also attended
this private school when her father was president. Malia, a fifth grader,
attends the middle school in Washington. Sasha, a second grader, is in elementary school in nearby Bethesda,
There is one future member of the Obama family we have
not yet talked about. This one has four
legs and fur. Maybe you remember Barack
Obama's victory speech on election night, November fourth. He said his daughters had "earned the new
puppy that's coming with us to the White House." This week, the Obamas said they had narrowed
their dog search to two kinds. They are
working with animal shelters to find either a Portuguese water dog or a
Labradoodle. A Labradoodle is a mix of
Labrador retriever and a poodle.
breeds generally shed less fur than some other kinds of dogs. They are better dogs for people who suffer
from allergies, like Malia Obama.
Martin Luther King
Our listener question this week comes from Japan. Misato Miyauchi wants to know more about the
civil rights leader and Christian clergyman Martin Luther King Junior.
fifteenth was the Reverend King's birthday. He would have been eighty years old. The United States observes his
birthday every year with a federal holiday. This year it will be observed on Monday, January nineteenth.
Martin Luther King Junior
was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. He was a good student and went to
college when he was just fifteen years old.
discovered he had special skill in public speaking. He decided to study religion. He was greatly influenced by the Indian
spiritual and political leader, Mahatma Gandhi. He studied Gandhi's teachings
of non-violence and social justice.
the nineteen fifties and sixties, Mister King led a campaign of nonviolent
protests. He sought to end racial separation laws and other
discrimination against African-Americans in the United States.
Mister King organized what is probably the
most famous civil rights demonstration in America. The March on Washington took
place in August of nineteen sixty-three. About two hundred fifty thousand people demonstrated in the nation's
capital. They demanded more jobs and
freedom for black Americans. Martin
Luther King Junior stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and gave one of
the most famous speeches in American History.
MARTIN LUTHER KING: "I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up,
live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be
self-evident, that all men are created equal.' I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of
former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down
together at the table of brotherhood."
efforts led to passage of the Civil Rights Act of nineteen Sixty-four. That same year, he won the Nobel Peace Prize. On April fourth, nineteen
sixty-eight, the Reverend King was in Memphis, Tennessee, to organize a workers'
strike. He was thirty-nine years old and had become the
nation's chief civil rights leader. He was standing outside his hotel
room when a gunman shot and killed him.
Luther King Junior once said "everybody can be great, because anybody can
serve." The holiday that honors him is
called a National Day of Service. On
Monday, President-elect Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, will join thousands
of people across the United States who will be volunteering in their
MARTIN LUTHER KING: "If you want to be great, wonderful, but recognize
that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. That's a new
definition of greatness."
The Marine Corps Band, Aretha Franklin, Yo-Yo Ma. Those are some of the musicians who will
perform at the presidential inauguration of Barack Obama on Tuesday. Barbara Klein tells about the artists and plays
some of the music that made them great.
is the San Francisco Girls Chorus singing "Vivos Voco." The
Chorus was established in nineteen seventy-eight.
It trains more than three hundred girls, ages
seven through eighteen, in choral singing. They come from more than one hundred sixty schools in the San Francisco,
San Francisco Boys Chorus will also perform at the inauguration. It includes more than two hundred forty
singers starting at age five. The Boys
Chorus celebrated its sixtieth anniversary last year. Here the group sings "An American Hymn."
Four very famous classical musicians will also perform
at the inauguration. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma,
violinist Itzhak Perlman, pianist Gabriela Montero and clarinetist Anthony
McGill will play a work written by composer John Williams for the event. Mister Williams will also conduct.
Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman and John Williams all
worked together on the music for the movie "Memoirs of a Geisha." Here is "Going to School," from that film.
the Presidential Inaugural Committee chose one of America's greatest singers to
perform on January twentieth. We leave
you with the "Queen of Soul," Aretha Franklin, singing "I Dreamed a Dream."
I'm Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today.
It was written and produced by Caty Weaver. You can learn more about
Presidential Inaugurations Monday on our program This is America.
And to watch live coverage of the Inauguration on
Tuesday, go to our Web site, voaspecialenglish.com and click on USA Votes
Join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC, VOA's
radio magazine in Special English.