Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English.
I'm Doug Johnson.
This week on our program we listen to music from singer/songwriter Jason Mraz.
And answer a question about Americans' favorite winter sports .
But first, a report on the anniversary of the Greensboro sit-in and the opening of a civil rights museum to honor it.
Monday marks the fiftieth anniversary of a very famous civil rights protest in the United States --- the Greensboro sit-in. On February first, nineteen sixty, four black college students took seats at a restaurant counter in Greensboro, North Carolina. The counter was for white people only.
The young men were refused service but they refused to leave. They returned to the store with other protesters day after day. Their sit-ins brought police and national attention. Now a new museum opens to remember and celebrate the event. Faith Lapidus has our story.
Their names were Joseph McNeil, Franklin McCain, Ezell Blair, Jr. and David Richmond. They were first-year students at North Carolina A&T University. The young men asked for coffee at the F.W. Woolworth store lunch counter. They were asked to leave the store. The young men refused. They remained seated until the store closed.
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When they returned to the university, the four students called on others to join them the next day at Woolworth's. They returned to the lunch counter with four black women. They sat there for four hours. No one would serve them. Some white customers made angry comments. Newspaper and television reporters appeared. So did the local police.
The next day more than sixty black students took every seat at the lunch counter. Some of the protesters were from a local high school. The protesters demanded that the Woolworth Company permit blacks and whites to eat at its lunch counters.
By the end of March, similar sit-ins were taking place in fifty-five cities in thirteen states.
Sit-ins are a powerful form of non-violent resistance. The Greensboro sit-in was not the first in the United States. But it was the most influential at the time. President Dwight Eisenhower announced his sympathy for the protesters. He said they were acting for the "equality that they are guaranteed by the Constitution."
The sit-ins were successful. Within the next year or two many lunch counters and other public places permitted blacks and whites together in many southern towns. And the protests helped pass the Civil Rights Act of Nineteen Sixty-Four.
On Monday in Greensboro, officials will open the International Civil Rights Center and Museum. The museum is in the former F.W.Woolworth store. The sixteen exhibits include a film recreation of the sit-in story as well as the four counter seats used by the first four protesters.
Americans' Favorite Winter Sport
Our listener question this week comes from Kerala state, India. Muhammad wants to know Americans' favorite winter sport.
We are not sure if Muhammad means the favorite sport to watch or to play so we will include both.
Several popular professional sports, including football, are played in winter. The National Football League will hold its championship game on February seventh. The Indianapolis Colts will play the New Orleans Saints in the Super Bowl at Dolphin Stadium in Miami, Florida.
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Most sports experts believe football is the favorite sport to watch in the United States. Since nineteen ninety-four, the sports broadcasting network ESPN has been studying the subject. Their experts ask tens of thousands of Americans what sporting events they like to watch best. This includes attending the event and watching it on television at home. National Football League competition has finished in first place for many years.
However, both professional and college basketball always rates in the top five. Basketball competition starts in autumn and continues throughout the winter into spring.
One of America's favorite spectator sports takes place almost all year long. NASCAR, the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing, has huge live and television audiences. The races take place mainly in the warm southern states. Probably the most famous NASCAR race is the Daytona Five Hundred. It takes place every February in Daytona Beach, Florida. About two hundred thousand people attend the race. Millions more watch it on television.
The winter sports Americans like to take part in often depend on where they live. Many Americans love to downhill ski, for example. But only people who live near snowy mountainous areas can ski a lot.
Ice skating and the game of ice hockey are also popular winter sports. There are many indoor ice rinks in America. So skaters can be active all year round.
The same is true of many sports normally thought of as warm weather activities. Indoor tennis courts, soccer fields and rock climbing centers permit people to take part in these sports in all seasons.
Other listeners have asked about American singer and songwriter Jason Mraz. Fritzi Bodenheimer tells about him and plays some of his music.
Jason Mraz grew up in Mechanicsville, Virginia. He performed in musical theater in high school. He went on to study musical theater at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City. But he dropped out one year later after someone gave him a guitar. He learned to play the instrument and began writing songs.
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He is known for writing meaningful songs. His relaxed, easy sound includes influences of pop, folk and hip-hop music. And when he performs he connects with his audience. He sings a strong message of being thankful.
In two thousand two, he released his first album, "Waiting for My Rocket to Come." It included the hit song "Remedy (I Won't Worry.)"
Jason Mraz became very popular following the release of his third studio album in two thousand eight. It is called "We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things." Two songs on the album received Grammy nominations. Music critics say Jason Mraz sings with a pure and clear tone on the song "Make it Mine."
"Lucky" is another hit song from "We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things." Jason Mraz performs the song with singer Colbie Caillat.
Jason Mraz has gained a huge international following with his song "I'm Yours." It has been played millions of times on the Internet. It is a happy song about being open to love and life's possibilities. You may find yourself singing along.
I'm Doug Johnson. Our program was written by Lawan Davis and Caty Weaver, who was also the producer. For transcripts, MP3s and podcasts of our programs, go to voaspecialenglish.com. You can also post comments.
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Join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC, VOA's radio magazine in Special English.