A Symbol of Welcome for Thousands http://recuerdosclio.blogspot.com/ The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus Exhibition Designer: Kelsey DePreta
Emma Lazarus Emma was born into a Her father, a wealthywealthy family in 1849 and sugar refiner, waswas one of seven children enthusiastic about and she grew up around integrating his family withUnion Square in New York. the Christian society.The Lazarus family was able Emma was exposed toto trace their ancestry to a subtle anti-Semitism: shepioneer group of Sephardic felt that others were niceJews; a group of America’s to her face but held first settlers. http://thefeministguide.com/2011/12/emma judgment in private. -lazarus-residence/
Lazarus as a literary figure• Emma had a lot of pride in her heritage and “often wrote about the medieval scholars and poets of her ancestors’ land (Jewish Women’s Archive).”• She confided in authors such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Heinrich Sephardic Jews’ Immigration Routes http://library.northeastern.edu/news-events/exhibits/emma-lazarus-voice- Heine. of-liberty-voice-of-conscience
Ralph Waldo Emerson (below) was an American poet whose themes include morality, Christianity, and power (Goodman). http://www.marxists.org/archive/m arx/works/1846/letters/index.htm Heine (above) was a German Jewish poet whose works varied from romantic to excessively political and satirical and Emma identified with him. "No enthusiast for the Hebrew faith,...he was none the less eager to proclaim himself an enthusiast for the http://topics.nytimes.com/topics/refe rights of the Jews and their civil rence/timestopics/people/e/ralph_w aldo_emerson/index.html equality.“ (4)
American Immigrants in the 1800’s• There was a large • In 1845 and 1846 there was population growth in Britain a potato famine which and an agricultural resulted in starvation and depression which resulted death for people in Ireland. in many leaving, some By the end of 1845 nearly a coming to North America. quarter of the Irish• Some English people population had immigrated to the United States. continued to work in agriculture while others http://pested.ifas. found work with their ufl.edu/newsletter s/august07/Pestic ide_Potpourri.htm technological skills.
American Immigrants in the 1800’s• Many immigrants came • A large wave of immigrants from Germany. “most were impoverished Germans who also came from France. had lost confidence in its Many were political governments ability to refugees from a failed solve the countrys revolution. economic problems. Others left because they feared • In the late 19th century many constant political turmoil in Russians began to Germany (Immigration immigrate due to pogroms. 1800-1900).”
Russian Pogroms in the 1800’s• Anti-Jewish riots were breaking out in Russia following Czar Alexander II’s assassination. These riots would come to be known as pogroms.• These pogroms made the Jews of Russia feel unsafe and insecure.• The pogroms caused many Jews to embrace Marxist socialism and Zionism.• Jews felt that “until the Jews had a homeland of their own they would function as a pariah people subject to whatever hostility and ill will others chose to inflict on them (Diner 90).”
A French Statue• The Statue of Liberty was a project undergone by the French in order to show their respect for American Democracy.• A prominent French man, Rene Lefebvre di Laboulaye, held a dinner party and offered the idea of donating a monument, “a token of their common bond” with Americans. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89douard_Ren %C3%A9_de_Laboulaye
Creating the Statue • Attending this party was a sculptor, Fredrick Auguste Bartholdi, who was inspired and put this idea to work. • The statue was based upon the Colossus of Rhodes that stood at the harbor on the Island of Rhodes. Both were built based on a celebration of freedom and the Statue of Liberty is also known as the Modern Colossus. (Thehttp://fadedandblurred.com/blog/lady-libertys-125th-birthday/ Jewish Magazine)
But where will she stand?• Fund raisers and auctions were set up in order to raise funds to construct a pedestal for the statue.• Writers such as Mark Twain, Walt Whitman and John Burroughs submitted works to be auctioned off.• In 1883 Emma Lazarus was approached and asked to donate a poem to be auctioned for the "In Aid of the Bartholdi Pedestal Fund."• Eventually the funds were raised and sixteen years after Emma Lazarus’ death.• Georgina Schuyler, a patron and member of the New York high society, was inspired by the poem and the last five lines of her poem titled “The New Colossus” was placed on a plaque inside of the pedestal in Emma’s honor.
Inspiration for the New Colossus• Emma Lazarus was moved by Greek myths along with Hebrew scholars and it was reflected in her work; She also wrote of America’s cultural developments.• “Struggling beneath the poems surface, these tensions —between ancient and modern, Jew and American, voice and silence, freedom and oppression—give Emma Lazaruss work meaning and power (Jewish Women’s Archive).”• She often visited the immigrants’ camps because she felt a tie to her “brothers and sisters” even though she was a wealthy member of society.
“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, With conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-handGlows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. "Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Meaning within The New Colossus“Lazarus contrasts the soon-to-be installed symbol of the UnitedStates with what many consider the perfect symbol of the Greek andRoman era, the Colossus of Rhodes. Her comparison proved appropriate, for Bartholdi himself created the Statue of Liberty with the well-known Colossus in mind.” http://www.rhodesguide.com/rhode s/colossus_rhodes.php
“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, With conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles.” Emma makes a direct comparison between the Greek Colossus of Rhodes and the Statue of Liberty, or ModernColossus. They both represented freedom for the people of their land, however, the Greek statue was created as a celebration of a war victory and the Statue of Liberty was created as a celebration of a new found freedom for Americans. She describes her as the “Mother of Exiles”because she represents the acceptance of those no longer welcome in their homeland.
From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes commandThe air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. The light held in the Statue’s hand is the “light at the end of the tunnel,” or a guide for those looking for refuge and a new home.http://ellisisland.smugmug.com/keyword/statue%20of%20liberty/239640909_k3MiZ#!i=239640909&k=k3MiZ
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she With silent lips.This shows that the Statue of Liberty contains power without having to utter a word. Just her presence alone sends the clear message that America is not looking to bring the vulgar behaviors and actions completed by ancient lands in the past; America is a new land offering rights and chance for people to create their own lives, free from their previous judgments.
"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"This helps emphasize the sense of freedom and pride that one feels upon arriving in America. The immigrants are all welcomed who look for a place to belong. It gives a sense of relief to those who were “Tempest-tost,” or hit repeatedly by hardships. The lamp in the Statue’s hand it the golden door, the landmark to which they need to arrive to know that they have completed their journey for freedom and salvation.