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Introduction

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The United States of America is a federal republic of 50 states, a federal district, and a number of other territories. It is located mostly in central North America. The U.S. has three land borders, two with Canada and one with Mexico, and has sea borders with Cuba, the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, Bermuda and Russia, and is otherwise bounded by the Pacific Ocean, the Bering Sea, the Arctic Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean. Of the 50 states, only Alaska and Hawaii are not contiguous with any other state. The U.S. also has a collection of districts, territories, and possessions in the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean. Each state has a high level of autonomy according to the system of federalism. The U.S. traces its national origin to the declaration by 13 British colonies in 1776 that they were one free and independent state. They were recognized as such by the Treaty of Paris in 1783. Since then, the nation has grown to become a superpower and exerts a high level of economic, political, military, and cultural influence.
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Rosa Parks
Rosa Parks (February 4, 1913 – October 24, 2005) was an African American civil rights activist whom the U.S. Congress later called "Mother of the Modern-Day Civil Rights Movement".

On December 1, 1955, Parks became famous for refusing to obey bus driver James Blake's order that she give up her seat to make room for a white passenger. This action of civil disobedience started the Montgomery bus boycott, which is one of the largest movements against racial segregation. In addition, this launched Martin Luther King Jr., who was involved with the boycott, to prominence in the civil rights movement. She has had a lasting legacy worldwide.

Although Parks' autobiography recounts that some of her earliest memories are of the kindness of white strangers, her situation made it impossible to ignore racism. When the Ku Klux Klan marched down the street in front of her house, Parks recalls her grandfather guarding the front door with a shotgun. The Montgomery Industrial School, founded and staffed by white northerners for black children, was burned twice by arsonists, and its faculty was ostracized by the white community.

Parks received most of her national accolades very late in life, with relatively few awards and honors being given to her until many decades after the Montgomery bus boycott. For example, the Rosa Parks Congressional Gold Medal bears the legend "Mother of the Modern Day Civil Rights Movement".

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Bradley Joseph
Bradley Joseph (born Willmar, Minnesota) is an American composer, arranger, and producer of contemporary instrumental music. His compositions include works for orchestra, quartet, and solo piano, with his musical style ranging from "quietly pensive mood music to a rich orchestration of classical depth and breadth".

Active since 1983, he played various instruments in rock bands throughout the Midwest until 1989 when Greek composer Yanni hired him for his next tour, sight unseen, based on a tape of his own compositions. He was a featured concert keyboardist with Yanni through six major tours and appears in the 1994 multi-platinum album and video, Yanni Live at the Acropolis. Joseph then reunited with Yanni in 2003 for the 60-city Ethnicity tour. He also spent four years as musical director and lead keyboardist for Sheena Easton, including a 1995 performance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

In 1994, Joseph's solo career began when he independently released Hear the Masses, featuring many of his Yanni bandmates. This debut release was followed by Rapture, an instrumental album recorded with a 50-piece orchestra, in which Joseph wrote and conducted all of the scores. It was released on the Narada label and reached NAV's "Airwaves Top 30". He has produced 15 albums, DVDs, and numerous piano books under his own record label, Robbins Island Music. Two of these albums, Christmas Around the World and One Deep Breath, also held positions on NAV’s Top 100 radio chart. His music is included in numerous various-artist compilation albums, most recently the 2008 release of The Weather Channel Presents: Smooth Jazz II.

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Downtown from the North Loop
Minneapolis is the largest city in the U.S. state of Minnesota. The city lies on both banks of the Mississippi River, just north of the river's confluence with the Minnesota River, and adjoins Saint Paul, the state's capital. Known as the Twin Cities, these two cities form the core of Minneapolis-St. Paul, the sixteenth largest metropolitan area in the United States, with about 3.2 million residents. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the population of the city of Minneapolis at 369,051 people in 2006.

Abundantly rich in water, the city has twenty lakes and wetlands, the Mississippi riverfront, creeks and waterfalls, many connected by parkways in the Chain of Lakes and the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway. Minneapolis was once the world's flour milling capital and a hub for timber. The community's diverse population has a long tradition of charitable support through progressive public social programs and through private and corporate philanthropy.

The name Minneapolis is attributed to the city's first schoolmaster, who combined mni, the Dakota word for water, and polis, the Greek word for city. Minneapolis is nicknamed the City of Lakes and the Mill City.

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Theodore Roosevelt
I have always been fond of the West African proverb "Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far."

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John F. Kennedy

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Some modern Hawaiian dishes. From top left, clockwise: tripe stew (ʻōpū kū), rice (laiki), ʻopihi poke, laulau, squid lūʻau, pipikaula shortribs, kālua puaʻa (kālua pig), and poi in the center.
The cuisine of Hawaii incorporates five distinct styles of food, reflecting the diverse food history of settlement and immigration in the Hawaiian Islands.[a] (Full article...)

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