Emma Lazarus Project: Curriculum

Emma Lazarus Curriculum

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One-Day Lesson

One-Day Lesson

In 1883, poet Emma Lazarus wrote “The New Colossus,” to help raise funds for the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. Since that time the poem and the Statue have become an inseparable declaration, offering a vision of the Statue of Liberty as a “mother of exiles,” welcoming newcomers from around the world. In this lesson students will explore the context in which the poem was written and how the statue and poem work in tandem to make a statement about America. 
How does historical context shape the art, and how can art help express and define a nation’s identity?
Teacher’s Guide

This Teacher’s Guide provides an overview and step by step suggestions for how to engage your students in how the Statue of Liberty and “The New Colossus” work in tandem to make a statement about America.

Download the One-Day Lesson Teacher's Guide

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Student Materials

These printable worksheets accompany our one day lesson Teacher’s guide.

Download the One-Day Lesson Student Materials

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Presentation

This presentation explores the context in which “The New Colossus” was written and is designed to accompany our one day lesson.

Download the One-Day Lesson Presentation

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Video: The New Colossus
Three-Day Lesson

Three-Day Lesson

In 1883, poet Emma Lazarus wrote “The New Colossus,” to help raise funds for the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. Since that time the poem and the Statue have become an inseparable declaration, offering a vision of the Statue of Liberty as a “mother of exiles,” welcoming newcomers from around the world.  In this three day lesson, students will have the opportunity to examine materials from AJHS’ archives and synthesize what they have learned by writing their own original poems. 
How does historical context shape the art, and how can art help express and define a nation’s identity?
Teacher’s Guide

This Teacher’s Guide provides an overview and step by step suggestions for how to engage your students in how the Statue of Liberty and “The New Colossus” work in tandem to make a statement about America.

Download the Three-Day Lesson Teacher's Guide

,
Student Materials

These printable worksheets accompany our three-day lesson Teacher’s guide.

Download the Three-Day Lesson Student Materials

,
Presentation

This presentation explores the context in which “The New Colossus” was written and is designed to accompany our three-day lesson.

Download the Three-Day Lesson Presenation

,
Video: The New Colossus
From the AJHS Archives

From the AJHS Archives

The American Jewish Historical Society is the oldest ethnic, cultural archive in the United States. The AJHS has an unparalleled collection on the Lazarus family, as well as material on immigration, anti-Semitism and freedom of religion. The American Jewish Historical Society, steward of the Emma Lazarus papers, has now digitized her work and made it available to the public. 
In an era that can sometimes flatten history, our collections allow us to show that history is complicated, people waver over ideas and convictions, and students have a place in that interpretation. 
Sources For Students

This printable packet includes scaffolded primary sources from the American Jewish Historical Society’s archives.

Download the packet

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Teacher’s Guides

This printable packet includes primary sources from the American Jewish Historical Society’s archives and features additional contextualizing information for teachers.

Download the From the AJHS Archives Teacher's Guides

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Presentation

This presentation explores the American Jewish Historical Society’s archives and accompanies the printable sources for students.

Download the From the AJHS Archives Presentation

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Digitized Collections

Teachers can explore The American Jewish Historical Society’s digitized collections online, including the Emma Lazarus papers.

Visit AJHS's Digitized Collections

Visit Emma’s Sitting Room

Visit Emma’s Sitting Room

From Sitting Room to Soapbox is an interactive exhibit that situates the genesis of “The New Colossus” in a brownstone sitting room. This exhibit recreates the room where the author, Emma Lazarus, immersed herself in the debates and literature of the day. Students will have the chance to read and discuss Emma’s words and immerse themselves in the issues of the time. AJHS has developed two fieldtrips that are grounded in the curriculum and include a guided tour of the exhibit. These fieldtrips invite students to explore the history of Union Square and go behind the scenes of the archives.  

Teacher’s Guide

This Teacher’s Guide provides an overview and step by step suggestions for how to engage your students before and after their visit to the American Jewish Historical Society.

Download the Visit Emma's Sitting Room Teacher's Guide.

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Student Materials

These printable worksheets accompany our pre & post visit lessons Teacher’s guide.

Download the Visit Emma's Sitting Room Student Materials

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Presentation

This presentation explores the context in which “The New Colossus” was written and is designed to accompany our pre & post visit lessons.

Download the Visit Emma's Sitting Room Presentation

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Request a Visit

AJHS has developed two field trips that complement the classroom-based curriculum.

Archive Tour: Students are invited to go behind the scenes into the archives in order to piece together the story of Emma Lazarus' life and explroe the world she lived in.

Walking Tour: Students explore the history of Union Square, the famous figures who stood atop soapboxes, and explore how even in complicated times people can engage civilly. 

To learn more or schedule a field trip, email cbracci@ajhs.org or call (212) 294-6164.

Picking Up the Pen

Picking Up the Pen

Emma’s story shows how even in complicated times, people can engage civically, and that art can help express and define the ideals and identity of a nation nation. Whether in a class setting or on their own, we invite students to connect past and present, and imagine themselves as modern day Emma Lazaruses. The American Jewish Historical Society is hosting a National Poetry contest that asks students: “If you could write a poem for the Statue of Liberty today, what would it say?”
You do not have to participate in the full curriculum in order to submit their poems to the contest, but we do encourage you to watch the film and explore the resources below. 
Contest Guidelines

This guide is designed to help prepare students compose and submit their poem to the Emma Lazarus Project Poetry Contest.

Download the Poetry Contest Guidelines

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Submit Your Poem

All student poems must be submitted through submittable.

Submit your poem here

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92 St Y’s “A New Colossus”

In July 2017, 92nd Street Y paid tribute to Lazarus’s iconic poem by hosting a week-long online festival using the hashtag #ANewColossus. Nineteen of the nation’s best emerging poets wrote poems that explored both the stories Lazarus’s poem invites, and those to which it may have blinded us.

Visit the 92nd St Y's A New Colossus

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Watch the Film

About the Curriculum

The Emma Lazarus Project curriculum, designed in collaboration with Reimagining Migration and teachers, draws on the remarkable collections of the American Jewish Historical Society. This curriculum provides students with the opportunity to analyze and engage with primary source materials in order to gain a deeper understanding of the United State’s long struggle with nativism, prejudice, and antisemitism.
Throughout this curriculum, students will explore how Emma Lazarus’ “The New Colossus” not only influenced the world’s perspective of the Statue of Liberty, but went on to shape American identity.
The curriculum, designed to adapt to the needs of teachers and their students, explores Emma’s complex identities, her influences, her writing and advocacy work, and the story of how she came to write her most famous poem. Through looking closely at the story of Emma Lazarus in the context of her time, students will explore how America both welcomed, but restricted immigration. Throughout this curriculum, students will explore how Emma Lazarus’ “The New Colossus” not only influenced the world’s perspective of the Statue of Liberty, but went on to shape American identity.
 
Emma’s story shows how even in complicated times, people can engage civically. Through engaging with this history, students will be prepared to develop their own voices on issues of the day. The culminating activity of The Emma Lazarus Project curriculum is to provide students with their own pedestal to share their thoughts and beliefs.
The American Jewish Historical Society is hosting a National Poetry contest, which asks students to imagine themselves as 21st century Emma, following the prompt: “If you could write a poem for the Statue of Liberty today, what would it say?”

The Covenant Foundation

This curriculum was made possible (in part) by funds granted by The Covenant Foundation. The statements made and views expressed, however, are solely the responsibility of the author(s).

Re-imagining Mibration

Re-imagining Migration was created to foster understanding and the successful inclusion of migrant youth across the globe. Re-imagining Migration equips teachers to engage the children of migration and their peers to learn from one another in reflective learning environments.

Facing History and Ourselves

Facing History and Ourselves is a nonprofit international educational and professional development organization. FHAO equips teachers with strategies that help young people wrestle with current events and difficult issues through the lens of history.