She’s one of the world’s most famous women and stands proudly at an entrance which has greeted immigrants to the US for generations.
She represents freedom, tolerance, acceptance and she is one of the most recognisable structures in the world.
She is – you guessed it – the Statue of Liberty. Gracing the doors to New York City like a towering single lady that Beyoncé must proud of.
But did you know that she was originally going to be designed as a Muslim Arab woman?
The designer of the Statue, a French man called Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi, was a big fan of Egyptian pyramids and strong women from ancient Egypt. He wanted to create a sculpture to celebrate the opening of Egypt’s Suez Canal.
At the southern opening of the canal the woman was going to be holding a torch over her head and be dressed in Arab clothing.
Sound familiar? That’s because it is.
Money troubles bugged Egypt’s ruler at the time and no one could afford the statue. It is pretty big and expensive after all. And the bill for the canal itself was going to be huge.
Not a man to be put off realising his dreams, Bartholdi decided to reimagine the statue and give it to the United States to celebrate 200 years since the American Revolution. So he changed it a bit to be dressed like a Roman goddess of liberty.
Since 1886 she has been a shining symbol of welcome and hope for immigrants of all faiths, ethnicities and religions at they enter the United States. She still is.