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.

Lady Liberty: Reimagined

by Kevin Kong

High School



after Jules Verne

Having won the lottery,
Lady Liberty goes out
for the night. Her heels
click on the concrete.
Her dress exile-blue. Overhead,
the starry wallpaper she’s
always dreamt of peeling.
She wonders. Outer space
& four leagues beneath.
How all it takes is the sharp
barb of a fishhook to pull
this nation up from the trenches,
breathless & unseen:
the last place without borders.
Her fear, like waves,
searching for something
to crash against. She tears
through a pearl brokenness,
hair loosening in a sea
of taxicabs. That the nation
& all its bodies should rise
like this. Now, she pretends
to be feral under sky
-scrapers with golden names
until nothing, not even
bitter fortune, can hold her.

Play Video