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Emma Lazarus – Writer

Most Americans know the line, “Give me your tired, your poor, Your tired masses yearning to breathe free” from the New Colossus engraved on the base of the Statue of Liberty. But how much is known about the poet Emma Lazarus?  Emma Lazarus was born in New York City to a wealthy Sephardic Jewish family of Portuguese descent on July 22, 1849.  Her writings were used as a way to combat the growing anti-Semitism in the United States and the persecution of Jews in Europe.  The auction of her most famous poem ‘The New Colossus” was used to raise money for the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.  Sixteen years after her death, it was engraved on a plaque there.

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