A girl named Jane sent fifty cents. "I am only a poor sewing girl," she wrote. A ten-year old sent "my pocket piecetwenty cents in silver." Twelve public schools in Trenton, New Jersey, collected $105.07 from their students. All across America, people began to respond. A group of artists and writers gave their work to be auctioned to raise money for the statue. Mark Twain was one of them. A thirty-four year old poet named Emma Lazarus was another. Lazarus had ancestors who came to the United States in the seventeenth century. They were Jews fleeing religious oppression in Europe. Now she was hearing about the pogroms that were sweeping Russiamob attacks on Jews. Thousands of Jews were being killed; thousands more were coming to America. Lazarus knew that there was opposition among some Americans to the new immigrants. But she also believed that America was a haven for the persecuted around the world. So she wrote a sonnet about what the Statue of Liberty meant to her. She called it "The New Colossus." Here is her poem:
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!"