Every day, people gather in lower Manhattan to pay tribute to an American icon. They are waiting, often for hours, for the ferry that will take them to the Statue of Liberty. While most visitors to the statue are familiar with the rousing poem displayed inside its base—“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” and so on—very few can name the poet who wrote it, Emma Lazarus. Even fewer know that Lazarus was a Sephardic Jew and a scholar, playwright, and novelist.
In 2006, Vox Tablet host Sara Ivry went to the Statue of Liberty ferry terminal to talk to visitors about Lazarus and solicit from them a group reading of her poem. Here’s a reprise of that installment.