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AMERICAN MOSAIC - July 20, 2001 - 2001-07-19


Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC, VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.


This is Doug Johnson. On our program today ...

We play some hip-hop music ...

answer a question about pizza ...

and, tell about the new popularity of one of America’s first presidents.

John Adams


A recent book by American history writer David McCullough has renewed interest in America’s second president, John Adams. Shep O’Neal tells us more.


Very few people in history have left a record as clear as John Adams. He carried a small book with him every day in which he wrote about his experiences. He also wrote thousands of letters to his family members and friends.

History experts say John Adams has not been remembered as widely as President Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the famous American Declaration of Independence. Yet the experts say it was John Adams who was greatly responsible for the approval of the Declaration of Independence. It was also John Adams who worked to have George Washington lead the army. And it was John Adams who demanded a fair legal system for the new country.

He made sure that all court systems of the United States are separate from other parts of the government.

David McCullough’s new book describes John Adams’ personal and political life. It tells of the events that took place around him. It tells of the thousands of kilometers he traveled and the dangers he faced.

Mister McCullough’s book is also a love story. Abigail Adams was the second president’s wife and friend. She was also a political advisor to whom he always listened. During their long marriage they wrote thousands of letters to each other about their ideas and feelings.

Recently, Mister McCullough appeared before Congress to support legislation to build a memorial to John Adams in Washington. Mister McCullough said no one except George Washington was more important in winning our independence and establishing our government than John Adams. He never failed to answer the call to serve his country.

Congress is now preparing the legislation needed to provide land in Washington for a memorial to John Adams. The memorial will be built with money given by private citizens.



Our VOA listener question this week comes from Burma. Aye Ayethwe asks how to prepare the Italian food known as pizza.

Pizza has a bread-like crust that is covered with tomato sauce, cheese and vegetables or meat. History experts say the idea of using bread to hold other foods began with the Greeks. They ate flat breads baked with oil, garlic and onions. The Romans also made a similar food. By the eighteenth century, the word “pizza” had developed from the Latin word “picea.”

Experts say Raffaele Esposito of Naples, Italy baked the first modern pizza in Eighteen-Eighty-Nine. The stories say he baked pizza especially for the visit of the Italian King and Queen. He made his pizza in the colors of the Italian flag — green herbs, white mozzarella cheese and red tomatoes. The popularity of the food soon spread to Northern Italy and Europe.

People from Italy brought pizza to the United States in the last half of the nineteenth century. Gennaro Lombardi opened the first American pizza shop in New York City in Nineteen-Oh-Five. But it was not until after World War Two that pizza became popular in America. That was when American soldiers demanded pizza they had eaten in Italy.

Experts say the best pizza in the world is still made in Naples. Today, people all over the world make and love pizza. Why? Because it is fun to eat and tastes great.

Pizza makers mix flour, yeast, salt and water for the crust. They form it into a large circular pie. They put tomato sauce and cheese on the crust. They may add onions, mushrooms, peppers or meat. Then they bake it in an extremely hot oven.

Many Americans do not make their own pizza. They go to a pizza restaurant. Or they send out for it. This means they telephone a local pizza shop, order their favorite kind of pizza and wait for a store worker to bring it to their house.

All this talk about pizza has made me hungry. Maybe I will send out for some pizza for lunch!

Hip Hop Music Conference

((BRIDGE: I JUST WANNA LOVE YOU, instrumental))


The first yearly conference on hip-hop music took place in New York City last month. More than three-hundred rap music artists, producers, reporters, politicians, and spiritual leaders gathered for three days of discussions. They talked about the influence of hip-hop music on America’s young people and its future. Shirley Griffith tells us about hip-hop.


Hip-hop music is also known as rap. It began about thirty years ago in the streets of New York City. Since then, the music has become a two-thousand-million dollar cultural force. Its popularity has spread beyond the black youth culture that created it. Now, seventy-five percent of hip-hop records are bought by white people. And the worldwide market continues to expand. Here is popular rap artist Eminem with the song, “The Real Slim Shady.”


Political leaders, religious leaders and even some fans have denounced rap music for using bad words and describing violent acts in songs. Rap singers have been criticized for spreading messages of hate against women and homosexuals in some of their songs.

The main idea of the hip-hop conference was “taking back responsibility.” The rap industry is fighting to prevent the government from establishing laws to control hip-hop music.

The people at the meeting agreed on a plan of action. They promised to create coalitions among people in the music industry and social organizations.

They agreed to establish more programs to help young people. They promised to protect young people from adult material in their songs. They also agreed to work to protect rap music from what they consider attacks on freedom of speech.

We leave you now with another popular rap song. Doctor Dre and Snoop Dogg perform “The Next Episode.”



This is Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today. And I hope you will join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC—VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.

This AMERICAN MOSAIC program was written by Cynthia Kirk, Nancy Steinbach and Paul Thompson. Our studio engineer was Paula Hickey. And our producer was Caty Weaver.