Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English.
I'm Doug Johnson.
we play new music from Mos Def ...
answer a question about some American presidents ...
But first, we visit the newly re-opened
museum in Washington that honors just one former president.
Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C, re-opened its museum
last week. The museum not only honors
the death of Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth president. It also celebrates his life. Visitors to the
museum can learn about President Lincoln's important role in American history.
Barbara Klein has more.
museum at Ford's Theatre was created to show Abraham Lincoln's life, and death,
in Washington, D.C. The exhibits include
historical objects that explain his presidency, his famous speeches and his
life in the White House.
Abraham Lincoln is remembered as the president who ended
slavery in the rebel southern states during the Civil War. Headstones in the
museum describe his feelings toward slavery. One headstone says that Lincoln
believed the system of slavery was founded on both injustice and bad policy.
also discover a funny side to Abraham Lincoln who was known for his sense of
humor. One of the museum's displays tells the story about when the president
had a mild case of the infectious disease small pox. At the time, Lincoln was
troubled by so many people seeking jobs in the White House. Because of his
disease, Lincoln joked to his doctor: "Good, now at last I have something I can
learn that President Lincoln's favorite pastime was going to the theater. He
especially loved the comedies of William Shakespeare.
Lincoln was shot and killed at Ford's Theatre while watching a play with his
wife in eighteen sixty-five. The museum shows objects related to the people who
plotted Lincoln's murder.
You can see the gun that John Wilkes Booth
used to kill the president. You can also
see the clothes President Lincoln wore the night he was killed. He was wearing a special coat made by Brooks
Brothers. Museum curator Gloria Swift
explains what happened to that coat after President Lincoln's death.
GLORIA SWIFT: "The Brooks Brothers coat was given to
the favorite doorman after Lincoln's death, at the White House, Alphonso Donn,
who kept it in his family. But like many people of the day, it was a practice
to snip out little mementos of events, and this particular coat suffered that
same fate, in that Alfonso Don would clip pieces away from the coat and give it
to people who came to visit and to see the coat. He gave it to them as a
souvenir. So the coat you see today really doesn't resemble the coat as it
originally was when Abraham Lincoln received it from Brooks Brothers."
Elder is an official at Ford's Theatre Museum. She says people are greatly
interested in Abraham Lincoln's death, the first assassination of an American
president. She says many people wonder how
the country's history would have been different if one gunshot on one evening
had not happened.
The American Presidents
Our listener question this week comes from
Ethiopia. Fekadu Banti is interested in
the presidents of the United States. The
twenty-second and twenty-fourth presidents have the same name. Is this one person or two presidents who
share the same name? And why is the current president, Barack Obama, sometimes
compared to the sixteenth president, Abraham Lincoln?
first of all, the twenty-second and twenty-fourth presidents of the United
States were the same person. Grover Cleveland first served from eighteen
eighty-five to eighteen eighty-nine. He lost his re-election campaign in
eighteen eighty-eight to Benjamin Harrison.
Cleveland ran again and won election in eighteen ninety-two. He took office in January the following year.
This is why Barack Obama is the forty-fourth president but just the forty-third
man to serve in the office.
The earliest example of presidents sharing a name is
the Adams family. John Adams was the
second president of the United States, serving from seventeen ninety-seven to
eighteen-oh-one. His son, John Quincy
Adams, served from eighteen twenty-five to eighteen twenty-nine.
Bushes are another father and son pair of presidents. George H. W. Bush served
from nineteen eighty-nine to nineteen ninety-three. His son, George W. Bush, served from two
thousand one until this year.
have also been two presidents named Roosevelt. They were related but not as
closely. Theodore Roosevelt lived in the
White House from nineteen-oh-one to nineteen- oh-nine. His distant cousin, Franklin Roosevelt, began
his presidency in nineteen thirty-three and served until his death in nineteen
finally, we come to Barack Obama and Abraham Lincoln. Both are tall, thin men with big ears. Both settled in the state of Illinois as
young men. Both became lawyers. They
each served in the Illinois state legislature before serving one term in the
United States Congress. Both are known for their excellent writing and speaking
Obama has called Lincoln his favorite president and his idol or hero. Mister Obama announced his candidacy for
president of the United States on Abraham Lincoln's birthday in front of the
Old State Capitol Building in Springfield, Illinois. This is where President Lincoln gave a famous
speech in eighteen fifty-eight. President Obama took the oath of office in
January on the Bible that Abraham Lincoln owned and used at his first
Abraham Lincoln freed the black slaves in the rebel southern states during the
Civil War. Barack Obama is the country's first African-American president.
Rapper Mos Def is considered one of the most talented
performers of hip-hop music. In recent
years, he has performed more as an actor than a hip-hop artist. Recently, he returned to the recording studio
and released his first album since two thousand six. Mario Ritter tells more about Mos Def and
plays songs from his new album.
Mos Def first became popular as a rapper during the
nineteen nineties. He released the album
"Black on Both Sides" in nineteen ninety-nine.
Music critics consider it one of his best collections of songs.
past ten years, Mos Def has become a successful actor in plays and movies. He
performed in the Broadway play "Top Dog, Underdog." He has won praise for his roles in movies,
including "Something the Lord Made," "16 Blocks", "Monster's Ball" and
Mos Def returned to his first love—music. His new album, "The Ecstatic," was released in June. Again fans and music critics have praised his
talent as a writer and rapper. Listen as
he skillfully delivers the words in the song "Casa Bey."
Mos Def was born Dante Terrell Smith in Brooklyn, New
York in nineteen seventy-three. He grew
up in an area of the city called Bedford-Stuyvesant. He tells about his life in "Bed-Stuy" in the
song "Life in Marvelous Times."
leave you with another song by Mos Def from his new album "The Ecstatic." This is "Quiet Dog Bite Hard."
I'm Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today.
It was written by Marisel Salazar, Lawan Davis and Caty
Weaver who was also the producer. Join
us again next week for AMERICAN
MOSAIC, VOA's radio magazine in Special English.