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

by Alexa Marsh

High School



Are the lines that stretch down the

Patina skin of lady liberty emblems

Of a hallowed history? Once her

Thick brows and stiff lips curled

Above the sturdy bridge of a

Muscular nose exuded the sternness

Of a stoic, something absolute and

Tangible like the peel of an orange

Resting in my palm. Shooting from

Spikes atop her gallant crown were

Cream stars painted on a cloth of

Red and blue. Draped across her

Body in silken folds, a robe rusted

With stains of a shaken past, but

Still her tarnished blue shimmered.

Trailing down from her clouded

Eyes, I think now those streaks

Are crusted with bitter salt. Oily

Tears plastered on frozen cheeks,

Our mighty Mother of Exiles weeps.

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