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AMERICAN MOSAIC - Not Just a Man's Game: The First Woman in Baseball's Hall of Fame

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(MUSIC)

HOST:

Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC, in VOA Special English.

(MUSIC)

I'm Doug Johnson. On our show this week:

We play songs by Jamie Foxx …

Answer a question about retirement in America …

And report about the first female member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Woman In Baseball Hall of Fame

The North American Professional Baseball season opens next week. Earlier this month, Major League Baseball named eighteen people to the Baseball Hall of Fame. They include the first woman ever so honored. Her name was Effa Manley. Faith Lapidus tells us about her.

Effa Manley
Effa Manley

FAITH LAPIDUS: Effa Manley was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in eighteen ninety-seven. She died in nineteen eighty-one. Effa Manley was white. She married a black man and considered herself to be black as well. She and her husband, Abe, owned the Newark Eagles baseball team in New Jersey during the nineteen thirties and forties. The team was part of the Negro League. This was a time when white players and black players played on separate teams. Black players played on the teams of the Negro League.

History experts say Effa Manley used the sport of baseball to improve the civil rights for African-Americans. She campaigned to get as much money as possible for the black players in the Negro League.

The Baseball Hall of Fame says Effa Manley controlled the business part of the Newark Eagles baseball team. She organized the team's travel, schedule, payroll and daily details from nineteen thirty-six until nineteen forty-seven. The experts praised her efforts to make the Newark Eagles a successful team. The Eagles won the Negro League World Series in nineteen forty-six.

The next year, a baseball player named Jackie Robinson became the first African-American to join a major league baseball team.

Soon other major league baseball teams began hiring Negro League players. Effa Manley worked to get major league owners to pay the Negro League owners for the players they lost. She wrote a book about Negro League baseball in nineteen seventy-three. And she continued to urge the Baseball Hall of Fame to recognize the Negro League and honor its players.

Before this year, eighteen Negro League players had been admitted to the Baseball Hall of Fame. This year, it is honoring Effa Manley and sixteen other players and officials from teams in the Negro League and earlier black teams. The ceremony will be held at the Baseball Hall of Fame headquarters in Cooperstown, New York on July thirtieth.

Retirement

HOST: Our VOA listener question this week comes from Brazil. Valmecir Jose de Souza asks at what age Americans retire and how many years they work before retirement.

Generally, Americans may retire from their jobs after working a number of years that is decided by the employer. Usually they must work at least twenty years. Then they may receive a pension.

Pension money comes from personal savings, the government's Social Security program and private plans from the employer. Federal law requires businesses to provide pensions to all people who have worked for the company a set number of years.

The federal government's Social Security program is the largest pension plan. It was established in nineteen thirty-five. Workers pay a little more than six percent of their wages each month into Social Security. Their employers do the same. Most self-employed workers also pay a percent of their wages into Social Security. People then receive payments after they retire for as long as they live.

To receive Social Security, a person must have worked for at least ten years and be at least sixty-two years old. The amount of money received each month depends on the age at which the person retires. For example, a worker who retires at age sixty-two may receive one thousand dollars a month. If he waits until the age of sixty-five, the amount he receives each month will be larger.

The Social Security program was never meant to fully support retirement. Today, many people cannot live on what they receive from Social Security. These people may also have personal savings or a private pension plan or both.

Most business pensions are paid with money from workers and their employers. Self-employed workers can establish independent plans through banks or insurance companies. Workers pay a percent of money they earn each month into the plan. They receive payments after they retire.

Americans traditionally retire at about the age of sixty-five. However, some find that they do not enjoy retirement. Or they are not getting as much pension money as they need. So they continue working until they are older.

Jamie Foxx

Jamie Foxx has been a successful actor in television and films. Now he has become a popular singer. Pat Bodner tells us more.

PAT BODNAR: Jamie Foxx first became popular in the early nineteen nineties. He appeared on the television shows "In Living Color" and "The Jamie Foxx Show." The actor is also a skilled singer and musician. He recently released an album called "Unpredictable." It has sold more than one million copies. Listen as he sings "Extravaganza."

(MUSIC)

Jamie Foxx has been a musician since he was very young. He began learning to play the piano when he was three years old. Jamie was raised by his grandparents. He went to church with them every day. He later became music director at his church. And he studied music in college.

Last year, he combined his acting and music skills. He won an Academy Award for playing the famous singer Ray Charles in the movie "Ray."

Jamie Foxx says he has gained success because of the life lessons his grandmother taught him. She is no longer living, but he honors her with this song, "Wish You Were Here."

(MUSIC)

Later this year Jamie Foxx will appear in the film "Miami Vice." He also will star in the film "Dreamgirls," a version of a musical that played on Broadway. And he is enjoying the success of his new album. We leave you now with Jamie Foxx singing the title song from his album, "Unpredictable."

(MUSIC)

HOST:

I'm Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today.

Our show was written by Lawan Davis and Nancy Steinbach. Caty Weaver was the producer. And our audio engineer was Greg Burns.

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

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