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AMERICAN MOSAIC - March 29, 2002: New Rock and Roll Hall of Famers / New York's Tribute in Light / Women's History Month - 2002-04-02


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


This is Doug Johnson. On our program today we:

Play music by some new members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ...

Answer a question about a memorial light in New York City ...

And celebrate National Women’s History Month.

Women’s History Month


March is National Women’s History Month. It honors women who have improved life in the United States. The National Women’s History Project is one organization that honors women this month. It was established in Nineteen-Eighty to record and recognize women’s influence on society. It is honoring six women this year. Shep O’Neal tells us about them.


The six women being honored are all more than seventy years old. They have worked to keep history and cultural traditions alive and to improve people’s lives.

Historian Gerda Lerner was born to a Jewish family in Vienna, Austria in Nineteen-Twenty. She came to the United States in Nineteen-Thirty-Eight after resisting Nazi oppression. Miz Lerner helped establish women’s history as an important subject for study. In Nineteen-Eighty-One, she became the first woman in fifty years to head the Organization of American Historians.

Native American storyteller Mary Louise Defender Wilson is being honored for helping keep alive the spirit of the Dakotah-Hidatsa tribes. She has traveled around the United States to tell stories about heroes, birds, plants and animals.

Human rights activist Dorothy Height is also being honored this month. She was born in Nineteen-Twelve. Mizz Height helped lead the American civil rights movement during the Nineteen-Sixties. She led the National Council of Negro Women for more than forty years.

Labor leader Dolores Huerta has worked to improve conditions for farm workers who must travel to different areas of the country to pick crops. With activist Cesar Chavez, she established and led the United Farm Workers Union.

Congresswoman Patsy Mink is also being honored. Her grandparents moved to the American state of Hawaii from Japan. She became the first Asian-American woman elected to Congress. She has worked for equal educational chances for women. Mizz Mink has represented Hawaii in the House of Representatives for twelve terms.

Sportswoman Alice Coachman was the first African-American woman to win an Olympic gold medal. She broke the record for the high-jump event in the Nineteen-Forty-Eight Olympic Games in London.

Each of these women is being recognized by lawmakers in her home state with a special party in her honor. And all their stories are being told in schools and other education centers around the country.

Tribute in Light


Our VOA listener question this week comes from Vietnam. Chu Mong Hung asks about the Tribute in Light in New York City.

Tribute in Light is the name for two tall beams of light extending into the night sky over New York City. The lights re-create the image of the two World Trade Center buildings. The lights appear as the two huge buildings did before they were destroyed in the September eleventh terrorist attacks. The lights are also a temporary memorial to the more than two-thousand-eight-hundred people who were killed in the attacks.

Experts say the lights extend up to three kilometers high. People can see the lights from as many as thirty-two kilometers away.

The project was the idea of two building designers and two artists. The two teams joined together when they learned of each others’ work.

The towers of light are produced by eighty-eight individual high-power lamps on the ground near the ruins of the Trade Center buildings. New York’s electric company is providing the light without charge.

The Tribute in Light was first lit at a ceremony on March eleventh, six months after the terrorist attack. Twelve-year-old Valerie Webb lit the Tribute in Light. Her father was a police officer who was killed in the attack. Her mother died two years ago.

The towers of light will shine every night until April thirteenth. Later, a permanent memorial will be built.

The newspaper USA Today published some peoples’ reactions to the Tribute in Light. Some people said the lights cannot replace the buildings. Others said it was a good way to remember them.

One woman said looking at the towers of light fills an emptiness she feels each day when she sees that the World Trade Center buildings are not there.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame


Several famous recording artists were named to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last week during a ceremony in New York City. The Hall of Fame has been honoring rock and roll singers and songwriters for seventeen years. Musicians can become members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twenty-five years after their first recordings. Mary Tillotson tells us about the new members.


A group called the Ramones became a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last week. They performed what is called “punk rock.” Perhaps you remember their song, “I Wanna Be Sedated.”


Two other groups were chosen for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They are The Talking Heads and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Singer Gene Pitney, musician Chet Atkins and record producer Jim Stewart also were made members of the Hall of Fame.

The only woman to become a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year is Brenda Lee. She sings mostly country music today, but started out singing popular music as a child. Brenda Lee recorded one of her best known songs before she was sixteen years old. It is “I’m Sorry.”

((CUT 2: "I’M SORRY"))

Another new member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is African American performer Isaac Hayes. He is probably best known for the theme song from the hit movie “Shaft.” He performed that song at the Hall of Fame ceremonies in New York. We leave you now with Isaac Hayes’ recording of the “Theme from Shaft.”



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 Nancy Steinbach and Jerilyn Watson. Our studio engineer was Tom Verba. And our producer was Paul Thompson.