New Colossus

Liberty Enlightening the World

She stands alone, an island, in the harbor. She faces out to sea or as in this photo Red Hook. She stands as a welcoming beacon, holding her torch high for all to see and she stands in stark contrast to the current administration’s immigration policies. Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. She was a gift from the people of France. Her pedestal was also crowd-sourced. Emma Lazarus wrote her sonnet, “New Colossus” to help defray its costs. The only inscription that appears upon her is written on the open page of the tome that she holds, JULY IV MDCCLXXVI (July 4, 1776). After her death, Lazarus’s poem was immortalized with a plaque affixed to the pedestal that it helped to fund. Her official name is Liberty Enlightening the World. But she has many affectionate nicknames: the Statue of Liberty, Lady Liberty, the Lady in the Harbor, the Mother of Exiles, and yes, some admirers simply call her Torch Girl. Conceived, built and dedicated in the 19th-century, during a period of intense immigration, she welcomed millions of Americans to their new home. I find it interesting that Lazarus, like her biblical namesake has risen to such prominence and enduring relevance. Her words epitomize an ideal, an ideal that has made our country truly great. An ideal that we will not turn our backs on now. Here are her words:

New Colossus

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-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
— Emma Lazarus

#1 in Civil Rights

#1 in Civil Rights

A September 22, 1964 headline in The St. Louis American proclaimed St. Louis as the “Number One City in Civil Rights.” In the article, Judge Nathan Young argued that St. Louis—more than any other city in the U.S.—was preeminent in the country’s struggle for civil rights based on the number of Supreme Court cases [four] that originated in St. Louis and the city’s long history of protest that led to significant change.

The claim that Saint Louis is the most important city in U.S. civil rights history may seem surprising, but that’s because so much our city’s activist past has been forgotten. America’s civil rights history has too often been dominated by stories about a limited number of places, during a limited time period. Until Ferguson, Saint Louis had been largely left out of civil rights history. #1 in Civil Rights attempts to reclaim the role that Saint Louis had in U.S. civil rights history. 

The Missouri History Museum’s, #1 in Civil Rights: The African-American Freedom Struggle in St. Louis examines the local civil rights movement and the city’s role in advancing the cause of racial justice. From activism to high court rulings, Saint Louis has been contesting racial inequities. #1 in Civil Rights uncovers a history that’s compelling and complex, but that all too often has been overlooked in the telling of the larger national narrative. That narrative includes four precedent-setting Supreme Court civil rights cases that originated in Saint Louis—possibly the most to ever reach the High Court from one source. It also includes events and battles that had significant impacts.

Sand Island Petroglyphs

Sand Island Petroglyphs, Bluff City Utah, Established 600 AD

We arrived at Sand Island at about the time that the check engine light came on in the Prius. We were a little worried about it, but there wasn’t much we could do about it, so we went on with our day. At least the light wasn’t blinking. That would have been really bad. Sand Island is on BLM property. There is a boat launch, campground and about a hundred feet of rock wall covered in Anasazi petroglyphs. There is both figurative art and symbols. The nearby town of Bluff City, Utah boasts on its city limits sign, “Established 600 AD”.

Anne has been busy this week making home visits. She and the teacher that she will be long-term substituting for in the fall have set up appointments with as many of their students as they can. These home visits are something new to me. They certainly didn’t do this when our kids were in school. The idea of them is to give the students and the teacher a chance to meet each other, before school begins. These meetings are being conducted in the home. This sets them in a more neutral setting and gives the teacher a chance to meet the families too. Discipline is not much of a concern with these kids, but Anne can always tell them that she knows where they live.