There’s More to Emma Lazarus Than You Know

Emma Lazarus

Emma Lazarus (1848–1887) was a fifth-generation American Jew and activist during an important turning point in American and Jewish history. In “From Sitting Room to Soapbox,” an immersive exhibit opening in December, you’ll be able to step into her sitting room, where she penned her poem “The New Colossus,” written to raise money for the pedestal holding the Statue of Liberty, in an early crowdsourced fundraiser campaign. The exhibition, at the American Jewish Historical Society, created by director Annie Polland, is part of an initiative that will include curriculum and a poetry contest. A 12-minute film shows how Emma Lazarus’s story will be part of a curriculum relating it to contemporary issues of how the U.S. perceives and welcomes refugees.