If you had the RoadSpoke app, this is what you would hear…here:
I-95n at Exit 14B to I-78n to Bayonne, NJ
"Ok, now… Quick, look up. In the distance to you you can now see the Statue Of Liberty. This is the best highway to see Lady Liberty because she is not blocked by Bayonne’s shipping cranes. So now it is time for a Road Test. Get ready to listen to the Fast Facts.
Fast Facts: in 1883 a call was sent out for writers to submit words to affix forever to her massive granite pedestal. Fund raising to erect the colossal gift from France had fallen off. So this request was a gimmick to engage Americans. Back then there was no Facebook or Instagram much less TikTok to gather and focus the attention of millions of fans. So the word went out by newspaper. It was successful. Such famous authors as Mark Twain and Walt Whitman submitted written pieces.
At the same time, a 34 year old Jewish poet named Emma Lazarus was outraged by recent anti-semitic violence in Russia.
There, the Czar and his soldiers were purging Jewish neighborhoods of their citizens. For no reason other than worshipping God in a different manner, Russian Soldiers beat, murdered, and looted Jewish people mercilessly.
These so-called anti-semitic pogroms created hundreds of thousands of refugees who sailed across the ocean to America’s Golden Door.
Back in New York City, Emma, submitted her 14 line poem. Sadly, the poem stagnated for years.
Emma Lazarus never herself even saw the erected statue — even though she sailed right past it 5 years later. The daughter of a wealthy sugar refiner, Emma was in Europe on the Grand Tour when she was diagnosed with Hodgkins Disease. Returning to New York, she was too weak to go on deck to see the recently constructed Lady Liberty. Emma died 4 months later.
Fast forward 15 years to 1903. After tireless efforts by her friend Georgina Schuyler, the stirring words of Emma Lazarus were finally affixed. Called “The NEW Colossus”, the poem spoke of replacing classical male giants with a new form and spirit: Lady Liberty.
It may have taken years for Americans to realize the full meaning of the Gifts from Emma Lazarus and the French, but its significance was not lost on millions of immigrants who would nearly sink their listing ships as they all rushed to the port side to see this promise of a New World.
Here now are her 14 lines:
"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-hand glows worldwide 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-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
In years since, many unknown and famous Jewish immigrants have sought the Golden Door and become United States Citizens: actress Natalie Portman, Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger and world famous scientist, Albert Einstein to name but 3.
Now for the Road Test. What was the name, nationality, and religion of the poet who wrote, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free?”
You have three seconds: Three and two and one. Her name is Emma Lazarus, American, and she was Jewish. Please do not forget it.
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#immigrants #immigration #Jews #Roadtrip