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The Statue of Liberty Was Originally Intended to Celebrate the End of American Slavery

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The Statue of Liberty is one of America’s most famous icons, with a famous origin story: It was a gift from France, given to the United States around the centennial of the Declaration of Independence. Many people today think the purpose of 305-foot statue, which is planted on Liberty Island in the New York Harbor, is to welcome incoming immigrants. This is bolstered by the Emma Lazarus poem engraved on its pedestal, which reads,” Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…”

However, according to Ed Berenson, a New York University professor and author of The Statue of Liberty: A Transatlantic Story, there’s a lot more to the origin of the Statue of Liberty that speaks to America’s original sin. In the early stages of its creation, the initial intent for the building of the statue was to celebrate the emancipation of enslaved African Americans after the Civil War. – READ MORE

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