The truth about the Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty was not a gift from France to America.
The Statue was originally designed for the Suez Canal in Egypt.
Bartholdi did not craft the basic design of Liberty specifically for America. As a young man, he had visited Egypt and was enchanted by the project underway to dig a channel between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. At Paris world’s fair of 1867, he met with the Khedive, the leader of Egypt, and proposed creating a work as wondrous as the pyramids or sphinxes. He then designed a colossal woman holding up a lamp and wearing the loose fitting dress of a fellah, a slave, to stand as a lighthouse at the entrance of the Suez Canal. The Egypt deal fell through, so Bartholdi decided to adventure to America to pitch his colossus.
We have all heard the shorthand that implies that the statue was exchanged government to government. In fact, Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, a mid-career statue maker, decided to pitch a country he had never visited before on his vision to build a massive lighthouse in the shape of a woman. In his diaries and letters, he described his journey to all corners of America, from Niagara Falls to Washington, D.C., from Chicago to Los Angeles, to explore this exotic land and drum up support.
When no significant government funding emerged, he contrived every possible fundraising strategy himself. He put on spectacles of wonder in Paris, charged visitors admission to watch the statue’s construction in a dusty workshop, sold souvenirs, and petitioned the French government to let him run a national lottery.
In the end it was Joseph Pulitzer, the American newspaper magnate, who helped him finish the job by printing the names of every person who donated even a penny to the cause. This strategy rapidly boosted the circulation of Pulitzer’s newspaper when readers bought a copy simply to see their names in the paper—a brilliant marketing strategy.
When the statue was presented to the US. Minister to France in 1884, it is said that he demonstrated that the dominant view of the broken shackles would be offensive to a US South, because since the statue was a reminder of blacks winning their freedom. It was a reminder to a beaten South of the ones who caused their defeat, their despised former captives.
THEY CHANGE THE FACE
ORIGINS: This item is difficult to explicate because it makes so many (sometimes conflicting) claims, so we’ll distill its essence to four primary claims and discuss those:
The model for the Statue of Liberty (i.e., the woman who posed for the sculptor, or whose portrait the sculptor used) was a black woman.
The Statue of Liberty was intended to depict a woman with features representative of the “black race.”
The Statue of Liberty was created as a tribute to black Civil War soldiers.
The Statue of Liberty was intended to symbolize the end of slavery in the USA.
You may go and see the original model of the Statue of Liberty, with the broken chains at her feet and in her left hand. Go to the Museum of the City of N.Y, Fifth Avenue and 103rd Street (212) 534-1672 or call the same number and dial ext. 208 and speak to Peter Simmons and he can send you some documentation.