America’s most famous and iconic landmark, the Statue of Liberty was originally conceived as a Muslim peasant woman and was to have stood at the approach to the Suez Canal.
Lady Liberty was also originally meant to wear hijab.
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As pointed out by The Daily Beast’s Michael Daly in an op-ed, the statue itself was originally intended to represent a female Egyptian peasant as a Colossus of Rhodes for the Industrial Age.
Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi, the French designer of the statue, was inspired by Egyptian peasant women.
“Taking the form of a veiled peasant woman, the statue was to stand 86 feet high, and its pedestal was to rise to a height of 48 feet,” Barry Moreno, the author of several books about the statue, wrote.
Bartholdi intended the statue to stand at Port Said in Egypt, overlooking the Suez Canal. Early drawings of the statue were titled: “Egypt Carrying the Light to Asia.”
In the end, Egypt’s government wasn’t excited about the high price the statue would cost to construct. And Bartholdi had to find another client: the French.
France commissioned two modified statues. The hijab was removed but the robed woman remained.
France gave the now iconic version to the U.S. during its centennial celebrations in 1876. The other one sits along the river in a Paris suburb.
Now, more than 100 years later, this statue still stands as a symbol of America.
The message inscribed on the pedestal of the colossal monument 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!”
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