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History often is interpreted not by what people said,  but what people thought someone had said.   There are numerous examples of Famous quotes from famous people who have since gone on record as denying that they ever said such such a thing.  

The phrase above, however, is a direct quotation from the poet whose work was attached both physically and symbolically to The Statue of Liberty   In many ways,  her words have become as famous as the landmark itself.     

I am posting this particular stanza as a way of pointing out that the poet was not misquoted and her phrasing was not edited.   She  wrote huddled, and meant huddled.   She wrote wretched, and meant wretched.    At the time the poem was written and due to the politics of the time,  she certainly could have been forgiven for writing a more pleasant and less honest description of immigrants.   That she chose not to do so earned her some small degree of fame at the time of the statue's opening and now, more than a century later,  immortality

Sometimes it is important to try and figure out what a writer means,  other times it might be ok to appreciate it for what it says

 

 

 

 

 



"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!" 
Emma Lazarus