This 12-foot tall statue was built by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and carried 235 miles across Florida in March 2000, at the very beginning of the Campaign for Fair Food. In June 2017, it was installed at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., as part of a permanent exhibit, “The Nation We Build Together.” This exhibit explores the question of what it means to be an American and how that has changed over time.
1. How do you think this statue is answering that question?
2. If you were curating this exhibit, what is one Jewish artifact you would include? One non-Jewish artifact?
3. How might you read Emma Lazarus’s poem “The New Colossus” not only as a commentary on immigration but as a midrash on Miriam, Yocheved, Pharaoh’s daughter, and the other women of the Exodus?
“The New Colossus,” by Emma Lazarus
Not 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 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!”
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