Emma Lazarus Project

The Emma Lazarus Project explores the story of Emma Lazarus, a fifth-generation American Jew caught in an important turning point in American and Jewish History. The initiative—including an exhibit, curriculum and poetry contest—uses primary sources straight from the archive to encourage students to piece together Emma’s fascinating story, and to join the ongoing conversation about American identity.

Her Eternal Legacy Brought Forth

by Lilly Wu

High School



To yearn for more, one reaches out
to the opportunities Lady Liberty does provide.
A torch in her right hand shines bright
beyond the labyrinthine darkness of one’s life.
Her left-hand holds a declaration that guides
for the masses’ reprieve in new paths from the old.

Though the luster of her promise of welcoming dulls in time
let not intolerance and internal divide be her new shackles.
Spurn not those stories encased with pain.
Humans we are as we see
with stories behind as our legacy.

Forsake not the image of Lady Liberty’s open arms
as golden gateways bringing the brilliance of hope.
Of the tired and poor does she see
let her beacon illuminate long-held dreams.