6. Statue of Liberty

DEDICATION OF STATUE

On October 28, 1886 a million people witnessed the unveiling of the Statue of
Liberty. NO MENTION WAS MADE OF EMMA LAZARUS OR HER POEM!

Her poem and her fame had to wait until 1903 some 17 years later and 15 years
after her death.

CHANGING VISTAS

Emma wrote “The New Colossus” in 1883. She wrote it as part of a fundraising project
for paying for the Pedestal upon which the Statue would stand.

Between 1886 and 1924, 14 million immigrants came to America from all over
the world. During that time Emma’s poem began giving the statue a new meaning.
It made the new immigrants feel more welcome.

By 1903 the public realized the poem spoke for them and they moved to have it
engraved on the pedestal of the statue.

Emma was in Europe during the dedication of the statue…but she probably got to see
it on her return from Europe.

Sadly on this return from Europe, she was returning home ill with cancer (Hodgkin’s
disease). She would die before she and her poem were recognized. She was only 38
years old.

BELOVED ICON

The Statue of Liberty is now 125 years old…and most of us are the children of
immigrants. In the early 1900’s most of the newly arrived immigrants were able to
see and be welcomed by “Miss Liberty”. Today most immigrants arrive by air and
do not see the statue, except as possibly a tourist.