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AMERICAN MOSAIC - August 3, 2001 - 2001-08-03


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


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

We play some music by Miles Davis ...

answer a question about the Library of Congress ...

and, tell about a famous religious building in the nation’s capital.

Washington National Cathedral


Last week, more than three-thousand people attended the funeral for the owner of the Washington Post newspaper, Katherine Graham. It was held in the National Cathedral in Washington. Shirley Griffith tells us about the historic building.


The Washington National Cathedral is one of the largest and most famous religious centers in the country. It belongs to the Episcopal Church. The official name of the building is the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. But everyone calls it the National Cathedral because people of all religions are welcome to pray there.

The National Cathedral was built with money from private citizens. The work started in Nineteen-Oh-Seven. The first stone was laid in the presence of President Theodore Roosevelt. Every President of the United States since then has attended services or visited the Cathedral.

The Cathedral was not completely finished until Nineteen-Ninety. It was built on seven-thousand hectares of land on one of the highest places in the city. It looks like many of the great religious centers built in Europe about eight hundred years ago. The building is shaped like a cross or the letter T. In the center is a bell tower ninety-one meters high. Two more towers stand at the bottom of the cross.

Two-hundred windows are set high in the walls of the National Cathedral. Most are made of many pieces of colored glass. They color the sunlight as it enters the building and spills across the floor. Some windows have flower designs. Others have images from Christian stories or from American history. In one window is a rock that was brought back from the moon.

The National Cathedral also celebrates American heroes. It has statues of Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, for example. And more than one-hundred-fifty famous Americans are buried there. They include President Woodrow Wilson, business leader Andrew Mellon and writer Helen Keller.

The Washington National Cathedral is open to all people for many religious events throughout the year. The Cathedral also holds Christian religious services, family activities, weddings, funerals, concerts and educational programs for children.

Library of Congress


Our VOA listener question this week comes in an e-mail from Vientiane, Laos. Khachonesack Douangphoutha asks about the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

The Library of Congress is America’s national library. It has millions of books and other objects. It has newspapers, popular publications and letters of historical interest. It also has maps, photographs, art prints, movies, sound recordings and musical instruments. All together, it has more than one-hundred-million objects.

The Library of Congress is open to the public Monday through Saturday, except for government holidays. Anyone may go there and read anything in the collection. But no one is permitted to take books out of the building.

The Library of Congress was established in Eighteen-Hundred. It started with eleven boxes of books in one room of the Capitol building. By Eighteen-Fourteen, the collection had increased to about three-thousand books. They were all destroyed that year when the Capitol was burned during America’s war with Britain.

To help re-build the library, Congress bought the books of President Thomas Jefferson. Mister Jefferson’s collection included seven-thousand books in seven languages.

In Eighteen-Ninety-Seven, the Library moved into its own building, across the street from the Capitol. Today, three buildings hold the library’s collection.

The Library of Congress provides books and materials to the United States Congress. It also lends books to other American libraries, government agencies and foreign libraries. It buys some of its books and gets others as gifts. It also gets materials through its copyright office. Anyone who wants copyright protection for a publication in the United States must send two copies to the library. This means the Library of Congress receives almost everything that is published in the United States.

Computer users can learn more about the Library of Congress and its collection on the Internet Computer network. The address is w-w-w dot l-o-c dot g-o-v. Again, the Library of Congress web address is w-w-w dot l-o-c dot g-o-v.

Miles Davis


An art gallery in New York City is now showing paintings and drawings by the famous American trumpet player Miles Davis. He died ten years ago at the age of sixty-five. Miles Davis played jazz for almost fifty years with some of the best musicians in the world. Now, the Columbia record company has released all the music he recorded for them. Bob Doughty has more.


Miles Davis said he decided to become a jazz musician after listening to records by Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. In Nineteen-Forty-Four, he was studying music in New York City. He met both these great musicians and joined them in concerts and recordings. Here they play a song written by Charlie Parker, “Now’s the Time.”


Miles Davis began leading his own groups at the age of twenty-two. During that time, he recorded a historic album called “Birth of the Cool”. Critics praised it for a new kind of jazz called be-bop. Here is a song from that album, “Move.”

((CUT 2: MOVE))

Miles Davis was always searching for new ways to play jazz. His music was considered revolutionary. And he sometimes added electronic instruments. We leave you now with an example of this kind of Miles Davis jazz. The song is called “In a Silent Way.”



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.

Remember to write us with your questions about Amerian life. We will try to answer them on future programs. Listeners whose questions are chosen will be sent a Random House Webster’s College Dictionary.

Send your questions to American Mosaic, Special English, Voice of America, Washington, D.C. two-zero-two-three-seven, USA. Or use a computer to e-mail your question to Mosaic at V-O-A dot G-O-V. Please include your name and postal address. This AMERICAN MOSAIC program was written by Nancy Steinbach. Our studio engineer was Tom Verba. And our producer was Paul Thompson.