In 1883, a young writer, Emma Lazarus, donated a poem to an auction raising funds for the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. "The New Colossus" vividly depicted the Statue of Liberty as offering refuge from the miseries of Europe. The sonnet received little attention at the time, but in 1903 was engraved on a bronze plaque and affixed to the base of the Statue. Still, it was only in the late 1930's, when millions fled fascism, that the poem became fully identified with the Statue.
The New ColossusNot like the brazen giant of Greek fame, with conquering limbs astride from land to land here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand a mighty woman with a torch, whose flame is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles, from her beacon-hand glows world-wide welcome: Her mild eyes command the air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame, "Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!"
? ? ? ? ? cries she
with silent lips, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breath free. The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"—————
This tablet, with her sonnet to the Bartholdi Statue of Liberty engraved upon it, is placed upon these walls
in loving memory of
Born in New York City, July 22, 1849
Died November 19, 1867