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[翻译]THIS IS AMERICA - MLK Day: The Fight for a Holiday to Celebrate Peace

更新时间:2017/1/16 9:26:58 来源:本站原创 作者:佚名

In 1968, American civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot and killed outside his motel room. Four days later, a congressman proposed a federal holiday honoring King. It was to be a holiday celebrating peace.

1968年,美国民权活动家马丁·路德·金(Martin Luther King, Jr.)在汽车旅馆房间外被枪杀。四天之后,一位国会议员提出设立一个纪念他的联邦节日,那将是一个庆祝和平的节日。

Who could object to such a proposal?

谁会反对这样的建议呢?

Many people, it turned out. The struggle to approve Martin Luther King Day took more than 15 years. And it ended with a very unlikely lawmaker: Ronald Reagan, one of America’s most conservative presidents.

结果有很多人反对。争取马丁·路德·金日获得通过的斗争耗费了15年多,最后一位想象不到的立法者结束了这一纷争,他就是美国最保守总统之一的罗纳德·里根(Ronald Reagan)。

Objections to the King holiday

反对马丁·路德·金日

In King’s famous 1963 speech in Washington, D.C., he described his dream for racial unity in the United States. In one line, King said he hoped “little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.”

1963年,马丁·路德·金在华盛顿特区发表了那篇著名的演讲,他在演讲中谈到了自己追求美国种族团结的梦想。马丁·路德·金在其中说到,他希望“黑人儿童将能够和白人儿童像兄弟姐妹般的手拉着手。”

The speech helped create King’s public image as a seeker of justice and equality. He based the movement on non-violent resistance, leading large peaceful protests.

这篇演讲帮助塑造了马丁·路德·金追寻正义与和平的公共形象。他以非暴力抵抗作为运动基础引发大规模和平抗议。

Among other things, King’s activism helped end laws that separated black and white Americans.

除此之外,马丁·路德·金的行动帮助结束了美国黑人和白人隔离的法律。

But people who objected to King’s message – or to King himself –called him a troublemaker, communist and racist. For years after his death, most lawmakers would not consider a proposed bill to make King’s birthday a federal holiday.

但是反对马丁·路德·金观点或他本身的人们称他是个麻烦制造者、共产主义者和种族主义者。在他去世后多年,大多数国会议员都不考虑确定马丁·路德·金的生日为联邦节日的提案。

Finally, in 1979, after ten years of petitions from millions of citizens, lawmakers discussed the idea of a King holiday in an official hearing.

最后是在1979年,经过数百万公民十年的请愿之后,议员们在一场官方听证会上讨论了马丁·路德·金日的想法。

Author David Chappell writes about some of the objections in his book “Waking from the Dream.”

作家大卫·查贝尔(David Chappell)在他的《Waking from the Dream 》一书中写出了一些反对意见。

Chappell reports that one opponent said King used peaceful protests to make others so angry they had to react violently.

查贝尔报道说,有位反对者表示,马丁·路德·金利用和平示威使其他人如此愤怒,从而不得不做出激烈回应。

Another claimed communist groups were often asked to raise money for King.

还有人声称共产主义组织经常被要求为马丁·路德·金筹款。

A third asserted that King wanted government programs to support blacks over whites.

第三个人宣称马丁·路德·金想要政府项目支持黑人凌驾于白人之上。

And many opponents questioned whether King deserved the same respect as George Washington, the nation’s first president who is honored with a federal holiday.

很多反对者质疑马丁·路德·金是否应该得到同乔治·华盛顿(George Washington)同等的尊重,这位美国首任总统被赋予联邦节假日的荣耀。

The bill did not pass.

这项议案未能通过。

But wait, how about…?

但是等等,换一下怎么样?

Some lawmakers proposed alternative ideas. How about a statue of King in the Capitol building? While the Capitol included more than 600 works of art at the end of the 1970s, only two featured black Americans.

一些议员提出了替代性想法。在国会大厦设立一座马丁·路德·金的雕像怎么样?虽然上世纪70年代末国会大厦包含了600多件艺术作品,但是只有2件是以美国黑人为特色。

Others suggested a day somewhat less than a federal holiday. Why not a “commemoration” of King’s birthday on the third Sunday of January? A more informal Sunday commemoration cost less than giving federal workers a paid weekday off, they said.

还有人建议马丁·路德·金日的规格略低于联邦节日。为什么不在1月的第三个星期天纪念马丁·路德·金的诞辰呢?他们说,一个更为不正式的星期天纪念日比一个联邦工作日的代价要低。

King holiday supporters agreed to a statue of King in the Capitol. But they insisted that the civil rights leader also deserved the full respect of a national holiday.

马丁·路德·金的支持者同意在国会大厦设立马丁·路德·金的塑像。但是他们坚持认为这位民权领导人配得上获得一个国定假日的充分尊重。

One supporter, musician Steven Wonder, even released a hit song celebrating King’s work and criticizing those who opposed a holiday. The song was called “Happy Birthday.”

作为支持者之一的音乐家史蒂夫·旺德(Steven Wonder)甚至发布了一首热门歌曲歌颂马丁·路德·金的成就,并批评那些反对设立假日的人士。这首歌的歌名就是《Happy Birthday》。

Two years later, Wonder – along with King’s widow, Coretta Scott King – presented Congress with the signatures of more than 6 million people supporting the King Holiday.

两年后,旺德和马丁·路德·金的遗孀科瑞塔·斯科特·金(Coretta Scott King)一同向国会提交了600万人支持设立马丁·路德·金日的签名。

Another vote

另一次投票

In 1983, the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate officially discussed the King holiday again. The timing was surprising because conservative Republican Party candidate Ronald Reagan had recently been elected president. His party also controlled the Senate. Reagan had said publicly he did not support the King holiday proposal.

1983年,美国参众两院再次正式讨论了马丁·路德·金日。这一时机令人惊讶,因为保守共和党人里根新当选了总统。他的党派还控制了参议院。里根曾公开表示他不支持马丁·路德·金日的提案。

In addition, the U.S. economy was struggling. Lawmakers were reluctant to agree to the cost of another holiday.

此外,美国经济当时正陷入挣扎。议员们不赞成付出另一个假日的代价。

But American culture had also changed. Author David Chappell says that in the early 1980s, the arguments against King were not as effective as they once were. Many voters no longer responded positively to opponents’ charges that King incited violence, was linked to communists, or supported racial division.

但是美国文化也发生了变化。作家查贝尔表示,在上世纪80年代,反对马丁·路德·金的论点不再像以前那般有效。很多选民不再积极回应反对者称马丁·路德·金支持煽动暴力、种族分裂的指控。

Even some conservative lawmakers – especially those with large African-American populations in their districts – had slowly changed their position on the issue.

甚至一些保守议员,尤其是那些选区内有大量非裔美国人的议员也慢慢地改变了他们在这个问题上的立场。

By the end of that year, the bill establishing the King holiday passed both the House and the Senate. It went to the president to sign.

到了那年年底,设立马丁·路德·金日的提案在参众两院都获得了通过,并递交给总统签署。

Reagan and King

里根和马丁·路德·金

Earlier in his career, Reagan had praised King. In the 1960s, the future president had called King “a great leader and teacher.” Reagan had said King symbolized “courage, sacrifice, and the tireless pursuit of justice.”

里根在政治生涯的早期曾经称赞过马丁·路德·金。在上世纪60年代,这位未来的总统曾经称马丁·路德·金是“一位伟大的领袖和导师”。里根曾说,马丁·路德·金象征着“勇气、牺牲和不懈地追求正义”。

Two years into his presidency, Reagan’s respect for King seemed to have returned. In January of 1983, Reagan noted that he and King did not share political philosophies. But, Reagan said, the two men shared “a deep belief in freedom and justice under God.”

执政两年后,里根对马丁·路德·金的尊重似乎又回来了。1983年1月,里根指出他和马丁·路德·金有着不同的政治哲学。但是里根表示,他们两人都“对自由和正义有着深刻信念”。

Several months later, Reagan communicated his support for a day honoring King—although, he did not say exactly why he changed his mind.

几个月之后,里根向他的支持者传达了设立一个假日来纪念马丁·路德·金,虽然他没有确切说明为何改变主意。

On November 2, 1983, Ronald Reagan signed the legislation establishing the third Monday of every January as the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday.

1983年11月2日,里根签署法案确定每年1月的第三个星期一为马丁·路德·金日。

Even though the holiday rarely falls on King’s actual birthday—January 15—it permits public school students and federal workers a three-day weekend to relax, spend time with loved ones, or perform community service.

即使这一节日很少落在马丁·路德·金实际的诞辰1月15日,它能让公立学校学生及联邦工人得到三天的周末放松,用这个时间跟亲人一起,或是进行社区服务。

One final note…

结语

As the bill described, the federal government began celebrating the holiday in 1986. Most states extended the holiday to other workers and students.

正如该法案所述,1986年联邦政府开始庆祝这一节日。大多数州向工人和学生们提供了这一假期。

But several states declined to dedicate the day only to King. New Hampshire combined it with Civil Rights Day. Utah and Idaho combined it with Human Rights Day.

但是一些州拒绝将这一节日单单献给马丁·路德·金。新罕布什尔州将其与民权日相结合。犹他州和爱达荷州将其与人权日相结合。

Arizona chose not to recognize the day at all, until tourists boycotted the state and the National Football League refused to play the Super Bowl there.

亚利桑那州选择完全不承认这一节日,直到游客抵制该州,并且国家橄榄球联盟拒绝在该州举办“超级碗”比赛。

And some Southern states honored American Civil War generals alongside King. The birthday of Robert E. Lee, a Confederate general who fought for states’ rights to maintain African-American slavery, is January 19. Lee’s cause lost in the Civil War, but some states remember him with a holiday.

一些南方州将美国内战将军同马丁·路德·金一起纪念。为各州争取维持奴隶制的联邦军将领罗伯特·李(Robert E. Lee)的诞辰是1月19日。李的目标在内战中失败了,但是有些州以节日来纪念他。

One of them, Virginia, celebrated General Lee, fellow Confederate general Stonewall Jackson, and Martin Luther King, Jr. all on the same occasion: Lee-Jackson-King Day.

其中一个州就是弗吉尼亚州,该州在同一场合纪念李将军、和他同事的联邦军将领石墙杰克逊(Stonewall Jackson),还有马丁·路德·金。这也就是李-杰克逊-金日。

In 2000, the Virginia governor succeeded in separating the events. The Confederate generals are remembered on a Friday. King is honored three days later.

在2000年,弗吉尼亚州州长成功分离了这一事件。联邦军将领在周五纪念,马丁·路德·金在三天后纪念。

I'm Marsha James.

And I'm Rick Hindman.

Words in This Story

petition – n. a written document that people sign to show that they want a person or organization to do or change something

assert – v. to state (something) in a strong and definite way

commemoration – n. something (such as a special ceremony) that is intended to honor an important event or person from the past

signatures – n. a person's name written in that person's handwriting

boycott – v. to refuse to buy, use, or participate in (something) as a way of protesting

fellow – adj. used to describe people who belong to the same group or class or who share a situation, experience, etc.

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