Accessibility links

Breaking News

AMERICAN MOSAIC - June 13, 2003: $20 Bill Gets Colorful New Look / Question About the History of the Stars and Stripes / Music from Kindred the Family Soul - 2003-06-12



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


This is Doug Johnson. On our program today,

We answer a question about the history of the American flag ...

Play music from the group Kindred the Family Soul ...

And report about new government efforts against criminals who print false money.

New Twenty Dollar Bill


Criminals often print false money. This kind of criminal activity is a big problem in many countries around the world. The United States will soon begin printing money that will be very difficult to copy. Steve Ember explains.


The United States government recently announced new efforts to halt the printing of false money. This kind of criminal activity is called counterfeiting. The government says about forty-four-million dollars in counterfeit money was produced last year. Experts say modern computers and printing methods have made counterfeiting easier than ever before.

Government officials recently showed the public a new design for the American paper money most often illegally copied. That is the twenty-dollar bill. The announcement was part of an education program to help make sure people all over the world know about the new money and understand its security designs.

One of these security designs is the use of different colors. American money has always been mostly green. For the first time in history the new twenty-dollar bill will be blue and orange as well as green.

The new bill will also have a device called a security thread inside the paper. The thread can be easily seen if the money is held up to the light. And a special colored number twenty will be printed in the lower right side of the bill. This number changes color when the bill is moved.

A picture of American President Andrew Jackson will still be printed on the front of the new twenty-dollar bill. However, his picture can also be seen if you hold the bill up to the light. It is printed again using a method called a watermark inside the paper.

The United States Treasury Department says the new twenty-dollar bill will be in public use later this year. New fifty and one-hundred dollar bills will be printed next year and the year after. New ten-dollar and five-dollar notes are also being considered. However, officials say they have no plans to change the American one and two-dollar bills.

Flag Day


Our VOA question this week comes from two listeners, Kasem Phumphong in Chainat Province, Thailand, and Song Bin in Guizhou Province, China. They would like to know about the American flag.

This is a good time to answer that question because June fourteenth is Flag Day. It is the anniversary of the day America's first lawmakers approved the design of a new flag for a new nation.

The United States of America began as thirteen British colonies. Each colony had its own flag. But the colonists fought under a common flag during the Revolutionary War against Britain. It looked a lot like the American flag today. It had thirteen red and white stripes for the thirteen colonies. It had a square blue area in the upper left corner. Inside the blue area were the red cross and white lines of the British flag.

On July fourth, seventeen-seventy-six, the American colonists declared their independence. The United States of America was born. The Continental Congress of the new nation approved a new flag on June fourteenth, seventeen-seventy-seven. The thirteen red and white stripes remained. Thirteen white stars replaced the British flag inside the blue area. The thirteen stars represented, in the words of Congress, "a new constellation."

In eighteen-eighteen, Congress approved a law that said a new star would be added to the flag for each new state that joined the union. Today, there are fifty states, and fifty white stars in the blue area of the flag.

Francis Hopkinson, a delegate to the Continental Congress, said he designed the flag. Most historians accept his claim.

Just about every American knows the story that a woman named Betsy Ross made the first American flag. Betsy Ross was a sewing expert in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was the official flag maker for the Pennsylvania navy.

In eighteen-seventy, the grandson of Betsy Ross, William Canby, wrote a paper about her. He wrote that when he was eleven years old, his grandmother told him the story of how she made the first United States flag. She said a committee led by George Washington visited her in June of seventeen-seventy-six. The men asked Betsy Ross to make a flag based on a design they gave her. The stars had six points but Missus Ross suggested that stars with five points would be easier to sew.

No proof has ever been found to confirm this telling of what happened. But we think it makes a nice story!

Kindred the Family Soul


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is home to many performers in the music industry. They include singers Patti LaBelle, Teddy Pendergrass, and Jill Scott. Phoebe Zimmermann tells us about the latest success from Philadelphia.


Singers and songwriters Fatin Dantzler and Aja Graydon are partners in music. They are also husband and wife. The two perform with a ten-piece band. They are called Kindred the Family Soul. Their first album, “Surrender to Love,” was released recently. Listen to a song from that album -- “Far Away.”


The members of Kindred the Family Soul bring influences from different kinds of music to their songs. These include soul, jazz, hip-hop, blues, folk and classic rock. The song “We” includes spoken words by guest artist Ursula Rucker.


Music critics say very good things about Kindred the Family Soul. They also say the band has a sound of its own. They say the group performs with the power and energy of popular soul bands of the nineteen-seventies such as Earth, Wind and Fire. We leave you with the title song from the album “Surrender to Love.”



This is Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today.

Our program was written by Lawan Davis, Nancy Steinbach and Paul Thompson. Our studio engineer was Rick Barmes. And our producer was Paul Thompson.

Join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC -- VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.