Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC — VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.
This is Doug Johnson. On our program today we:
Play some music from Broadway shows nominated for Tony Awards ...
Answer a question about several American government agencies ...
And report about a new reading campaign in the nation’s capital.
D.C. We Read
City officials in Washington, D-C are making final plans for a month-long reading campaign. The city government is urging everyone in Washington to read the same book during the month of June. Shep O’Neal has more.
The name of the campaign is “D-C We Read Two-Thousand-Two.” Its goal is to get more people interested in reading.
The idea of having everyone in a city read the same book started in nineteen-ninety-seven in Seattle, Washington. Now Seattle does it every year. Several other cities have followed the example.
Next month, the people of Washington will attempt to read the same book at the same time. The book is called “Having Our Say: The Delaney Sisters’ First One-Hundred Years.” Two African-American women wrote the book about their lives. Sarah Delaney was known as Sadie, and Anne Elizabeth was called Bessie. They were one-hundred-three and one-hundred-one years old when their book was published in nineteen-ninety-three. Their story was later made into a play.
The Delaney sisters were born in the southern state of North Carolina. Their father was a slave. He became a teacher and the first black leader of the Episcopal Church in the United States. Sadie and Bessie had eight brothers and sisters. They all finished college and were professionally successful.
Sadie and Bessie Delaney attended Columbia University in New York City. Sadie became the first black home economics teacher there. Bessie became the city’s second black female dentist. Neither woman ever married. They lived together almost all their lives. Their book is about family, education, racism, independence and the great changes that took place in America during the past one-hundred years.
The reading campaign urges people to talk about ideas presented in the Delaney Sisters’ book. Washington’s public library system has almost two-thousand copies of the book. Library officials have planned discussions and will show a film based on the book.
Molly Raphael is director of the D-C Library. She says she will consider the campaign a success if it influences at least one person who normally does not read to pick up the book. Government Security Agencies
Our VOA listener question this week comes from Malaysia. Ong Chin Heng asks about three American government agencies - the FBI, the CIA and the NSA. All three are responsible in different ways for the safety and security of the United States and its people.
The letters FBI represent the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the main investigating agency of the Department of Justice. The FBI investigates more than two-hundred-fifty different kinds of federal crimes such as kidnapping and hijacking. It gathers information about people or groups it believes are dangerous to national security. It helps capture dangerous criminals and spies.
The FBI also provides services to other law enforcement agencies in the United States and in foreign countries. It has the world’s largest collection of fingerprints and one of the world’s best crime laboratories.
The letters CIA represent the Central Intelligence Agency. This agency collects foreign intelligence information to help top government officials make decisions about national security.
The CIA may take part in secret activities if ordered by the President. It is barred by law from collecting information about the activities of American citizens within the United States. It is also restricted in the collection of intelligence directed against American citizens. Such collection is permitted only if there is a reason to believe an American is involved in spying or international terrorism activities.
NSA is the National Security Agency. The NSA also provides intelligence information to American civilian and military leaders. The NSA protects all important secret information that is kept or sent through United States government equipment. It invents new technology through scientific research. It develops secret methods of sending information. It also develops methods of reading secret information used by other governments. And it is a center of foreign language study and research.
All three of these agencies have different parts to play in protecting the national security of the United States. Agency officials are working to increase cooperation since the terrorist attacks against the United States last September. The FBI recently announced that it will increase its anti-terrror forces under a major re-organization plan.
The Tony Awards
On Sunday, June second, the Tony Awards ceremony will honor the best plays on Broadway in New York City. Mary Tillotson tells us about these awards.
The Tony Awards are the work of a group called the American Theater Wing. The group began as a way for theater people to help in the war effort during World War One. It continued this work during World War Two. Later, the Theater Wing helped returning soldiers. It opened a school to train people to work in the theater. And it began presenting the Tony Awards to honor the best Broadway plays.
The award is named for Antoinette Perry, a producer, director and American Theater Wing official. The name “Tony” is short for Antoinette, so the awards became known as the Tonys. The first Tonys were given in nineteen-forty-seven.
The awards are presented to many people who work on Broadway shows -- actors, directors, set designers, clothing designers, and music composers. Tony Awards are also given to the best dramatic play and the best musical play of the year.
This year, four shows are nominated for Best Musical. “Mamma Mia!” presents songs made popular by the Swedish rock group, Abba. Here is the title song:
((CUT 1: MAMMA MIA))
“Sweet Smell of Success” tells about a newspaper writer. “Thoroughly Modern Millie” is about a young woman from Kansas who tries to succeed in New York in the nineteen-twenties. Both musicals are based on well-known American movies.
The last play nominated for Best Musical is about a time in the future when there is not enough water. People are forced to pay money to use public toilets. We leave you now with the title song from “Urinetown: The Musical.”
((CUT 2: URINETOWN))
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 George Grow and Nancy Steinbach. Our studio engineer was Curtis Bynam. And our producer was Paul Thompson.