Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC - VOA's radio magazine in SpecialEnglish.
This is Doug Johnson. On our program today:
We play some American folk and blues music ...
Answer a listener's question about American families ...
And report about a new museum in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., is famous for its many fine museums, like theSmithsonian and the National Gallery of Art. Now, a new museum hasopened to share information that once was very secret. Bob Cohentells us about the new International Spy Museum.
The International Spy Museum presents the stories of men andwomen who worked as spies for countries around the world. The museumis careful to explain that a spy may be considered guilty of treasonin one country and a hero in another country.Graphic Image
The new museum opened a few weeksago. It is already very popular. Visitors often must wait for thirtyminutes or more before they can enter the building.
The museum tells the stories of spies from ancient times to thepresent. There are photographs of many famous spies.
p>More popular, however, are the hundreds of pieces of unusualequipment that were used by spies. Visitors can see examples ofradios that spies used to send and receive information during WorldWar Two. They can see some special cameras used to take secretphotographs. One special camera looks like a package of cigarettes.
The museum also has a collection of weapons used by spies. Theseinclude special pistols that do not look like guns. One gun lookslike a man's leather glove that fits over the hand.
The International Spy Museum also tells what happens to peoplewho were caught spying. One of these was a woman known as Mata Hari.She was convicted of spying for the German government. She wasexecuted during World War Two. The museum makes sure visitorsunderstand that spying is a very dangerous game.
The International Spy Museum is owned by a company that isbuilding museums for profit. It costs eleven dollars for an adultand eight dollars for a child to enter the museum. Critics say theprice is too high. But the people waiting in long lines outside themuseum do not seem to care. They appear happy to pay the money for achance to enter the secret world of spies.
Our VOA listener question this week comes from Nepal. SunilDhungana asks about the different kinds of families in America.
There have been many changes in American families in the past fewyears. So there are many different kinds of families today. Thereare fewer traditional families in the United States today than inthe past. The traditional family includes a man and woman who aremarried and their children. Fewer than twenty-five percent ofAmerican homes have these traditional families.
One major influence on families is the high number of marriagesthan end in divorce. More single parents are raising their childrentoday. There is also a high rate of unmarried women having babies.
Research has found that the marriage rate in the United States isdropping. More men and women are choosing to live together and havechildren, but not get married. Population experts say that thenumber of unmarried parents in the United States increased more thanseventy percent in the past ten years.
Another kind of American family is the stepfamily. A stepfamilyincludes a married man and woman and at least one child from aformer marriage or relationship. Many stepfamilies include childrenof both the man and woman from earlier marriages and children fromtheir current marriage.
Foster families are also a part of American life. A child whodoes not have parents is placed in the home of a foster family untilthe child can be adopted. Adoption is the legal process by which achild becomes part of a family. Many men and women who are not ableto produce children will adopt a child instead. Some people who havegiven birth to their own children choose to give a home to otherchildren through adoption.
Studies also show an increase in the number of children who haveparents of the same sex. Sometimes, one of the adults is thebiological parent of the child. Sometimes the children are adopted.
So, as you can see, the traditional family in the United Statesis changing. However, many Americans say it is not important iffamily members are related through biology or not. The importantthing in a family is love.
Alan Lomax died last month in Florida. He was eighty-seven yearsold. He played an important part in discovering and recordingtraditional American songs. Shirley Griffith tells us about him.
Alan Lomax traveled around the United States and the worldrecording the folk, blues and jazz music of common people. Hisfather, John Lomax, studied the music of the people in the AmericanWest and South. During the nineteen-thirties, Alan Lomax joined hisfather in a trip across the South to collect American folk songs forthe United States Library of Congress.Graphic Image
They recorded many of these songsby men in prisons. One of these recordings is a song called "Po'Lazarus" by James Carter and the Prisoners. The song was included inthe very successful movie and album called "O Brother, Where ArtThou?"
((MUSIC: "PO' LAZARUS"))
John and Alan Lomax also recorded songs by another prisoner,Huddie (HUD-dee) Ledbetter, better known as Leadbelly. They helpedhim get released from prison. He became their driver. He also becamea very successful folk and blues singer. Here is a recording ofLeadbelly's song "Midnight Special."Graphic Image
((MUSIC: "MIDNIGHT SPECIAL"))
Alan Lomax recorded thousands of folk songs across the UnitedStates and in Britain, Italy, Spain and the Caribbean. He developeda collection of folk songs from around the world in an effort toincrease understanding among people.
In the nineteen-forties, Alan Lomax recorded music by a guitarplayer named McKinley Morganfield. He was a farm worker inMississippi. Millions of blues fans around the world would laterknow him as Muddy Waters. We leave you now with Muddy Waters'recording of "Take a Walk With Me."
((MUSIC: "TAKE A WALK WITH ME"))
This is Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today. And Ihope you will join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC - VOA'sradio magazine in Special English.
This AMERICAN MOSAIC program was written by Jill Moss, NancySteinbach and Paul Thompson. Our studio engineer was Curtis Bynum.And our producer was Caty Weaver.