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Awards Recognize Young People Trying to Make the World a Better Place

Also: A museum in Baltimore, Maryland, tells the story of the first railway and shipyard owned by African-Americans. And a question from Zimbabwe about the Billboard Hot 100 music chart. Transcript of radio broadcast:


Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC, in VOA Special English.


I'm Doug Johnson. On our show this week:

We answer a question about the Billboard Hot One Hundred …

Tell about an award that honors young people for social action…

And report about a historical museum in Baltimore, Maryland.

Douglass-Myers Museum


The Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park and Museum tells the history of the first railway and shipyard owned by African-Americans. Museum visitors do not only see the exhibits. They also learn by taking part in activities. Barbara Klein tells us more.


The Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park and Museum (pictured) is in Baltimore, Maryland, on the Chesapeake Bay. It is named after two of the city’s greatest leaders who lived during the eighteen hundreds.

Frederick Douglass was a former slave. He went on to become one of the most important African-American leaders in American history.

Isaac Myers had a very different life. His experiences tell the story of African-Americans who were not slaves.

Mister Myers was a leading businessman in Baltimore. In eighteen sixty-eight, he and fourteen other African-American businessmen founded the Chesapeake Marine Railway and Dry Dock Company. The history of the dock and shipyard is the center of the Frederick Douglas-Isaac Myers Maritime Park and Museum.

The Living Classrooms Foundation led the development of the project. Dianne Swann-Wright is the director. She says the museum is different from many others because it urges visitors to touch and take part in activities throughout the exhibit.

Frederick Douglass worked for Isaac Myers at the Chesapeake Marine Railway and Dry Dock Company. Mister Douglass was a ship repairman. The museum recreates the work area and tools Mister Douglass used to repair the ships. He filled in spaces between the wooden parts of the ship with a material called oakum. It stopped water from leaking into the large boats.

Visitors can use tools to strike a substance similar to oakum as if they too were repairing the ships. Visitors also can build a large model ship.

Objects throughout the museum are like those found in the old shipyard almost one hundred fifty years ago. Rare objects are protected in glass containers. One is a small boat built in the early eighteen hundreds. African American slaves used it to escape. It was also used for transportation and fishing.

Dianne Swann-Wright says visitors to the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park and Museum experience a part of history that once had been lost. She says she hopes they will say: “Wow. I did not know that story at all.”

BRICK Awards


The BRICK Awards are given each year to young people who make our world a better place. These youth service awards were presented last week to twelve young people for their community action projects. Faith Lapidus tells us more.


For the first time, the BRICK Awards were presented on an American television show. The CW Network presented the award show last Thursday. Twelve people under the age of twenty-five from the United States and Canada won awards of ten thousand dollars to continue their work.

They were honored for their projects in four areas: public health, community building, education and environment, and global impact. Young people voted online for the top four winners. These people received Golden BRICK Awards, worth a total of twenty-five thousand dollars.

One of these winners is Jennifer Staple of Newton, Connecticut. She created an organization called Unite for Sight. It provides eye care and education programs to more than four hundred thousand people around the world. The organization has provided more than six thousand sight-restoring operations. And it has provided thousands of people with treatment for infections, glaucoma and other eye disorders.

Kimmie Weeks is another Golden BRICK Award winner. He survived the civil war in Liberia and later sought political protection in the United States. Now he lives in Newark, Delaware. He started Youth Action International, a group that helps children affected by war. It operates humanitarian programs in several African nations.

Ashley Rhodes-Courter lived in fourteen different temporary homes before being adopted at the age of twelve. Now she lives in Crystal River, Florida. She works to improve the lives of children with no parents.

Divine Bradley is the fourth Golden BRICK Award Winner. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. As a teenager, he wanted to create a safe place where children could go after school. The result was Team Revolution, a community organization led by young people. It has provided after-school programs to more than five hundred young people.

The BRICK Awards are given by a nonprofit organization in New York City called Do Something. It seeks to activate young people to find an issue that is meaningful to them and do something to bring about social change.

Billboard Hot 100


Our listener question this week comes from Simon Gondo in Zimbabwe. He wants to know what the Billboard Hot One Hundred music chart is all about.

Every week, Billboard Magazine publishes a list of the one hundred most popular singles in the United States. Billboard has a number of different charts for the music industry. Some list individual songs, others are for albums.

Most of the charts are based either on sales or on airplay by radio stations. But a few, including the Hot One Hundred, are based on a mix of sales numbers and airplay.

Billboard uses information collected by the Nielsen Company from radio broadcasts and music sellers. These include online stores like iTunes.

The song "Poor Little Fool" recorded by Ricky Nelson was the first number one single on the Billboard Hot One Hundred. That was back in August of nineteen fifty-eight.


The song that stayed at the top of the Billboard Hot One Hundred for the longest time was "Iris" from the Goo Goo Dolls. It was number one for eighteen weeks in nineteen ninety-eight.


Billboard Magazine releases a new Hot One Hundred chart every Thursday. Each chart is dated for the Saturday of the following week.

We leave you with the song that tops the Hot One Hundred for the week ending April twenty-first. It jumped forty-one places from last week to number one. Here is "Give It to Me" by Timbaland featuring Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake.



I'm Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today. It was written by Lawan Davis, Natella Konstantinova and Shelley Gollust. Caty Weaver was the producer. To read the text of this program and download audio, go to our Web site,

Join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC, VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.