Emma Lazarus (1849-1887) is best known for her famous poem, “The New Colossus,” written in 1883, and inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty in 1903. This poem includes the moving lines which capture the spirit and dream of America:
“Give me your tired, your poor/ Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free/ The wretched refuse of your teeming shore/ Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me/ I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
She was a poet of note during her lifetime, and also wrote important essays in which she expressed her strong aspirations for a national revival of the Jewish people. She was an active participant in work on behalf of Jewish immigrants who were fleeing the oppressions of the Old World, and who were arriving in New York in very large numbers.