A group of liberal activists defaced the Statue of Liberty on Tuesday by hanging a “Refugees Welcome” sign across its base. A group claimed credit for this vandalism via a Twitter account called “Alt Lady Liberty.”
The account tweeted: “We have no formal group – just private citizens who felt like we needed to say something about the America we believe in. . . Speaking personally – my grandparents met in a refugee camp after WWII, and my mother immigrated. So this touches close to home.”
Unfortunately, this group has fallen prey to the belief that many Americans hold, which is that Lady Liberty has something to do with immigration; that is just not at all the case. The Statue of Liberty represents Libertas, Roman goddess of Liberty. The words on it were to commemorate July 4th, 1776.
The famous poem that does refer to immigration was a part of a poem called The New Colossus, and it included the lines, “Give me your tired, give me your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” The poem was not part of the creation of the Statue of Liberty and was not delivered with the Statue of Liberty. It was written by Emma Lazarus as a part of a contest to help raise money for the statue’s pedestal. A bronze tablet bearing the Emma Lazarus poem was only put inside the pedestal in 1903.