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.

Whose broad stripes and bright stars

by Samantha Tan

High School



“Happy 4th of July”
a phrase said proudly every year my young blind self. Happy for who

Lessons taught about America,
conveniently leaving out th rest of us. Lessons for who

Whitewashed, Whitewashed, Whitewashed.

My young blind self wore red white and blue,
being proud of my america. Proud for who

Of course, this was not entirely my fault.
My world, America, told is it was great. Great for who.

Brainwashed, brainwashed, brainwashed.

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for who.

Did we forgot, our siblings in cages, in caskets,
for no good reason other than America.

Did we forget that we are all living on stolen land?
But we didn’t forget, we just were never taught.