President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Hart-Celler Immigration and Nationality Act on New York’s Liberty Island on October 3, 1965.
Ending race-based immigration quotas and Asian exclusion, Hart-Celler reestablished the United States as a beacon of hope for the world’s dispossessed. Re-opening America renewed the power of the credo inscribed at the base of the Statue of Liberty:
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
The Lower East Side Tenement Museum tells the stories of ordinary people with extraordinary bravery who left their homelands to build new lives at 97 Orchard Street. Their stories remind us that our open society, democratic institutions, cultural creativity, economic vitality, and ability to accommodate difference owe to our experience as an immigrant nation. Millions have come to this country seeking opportunity and fleeing persecution. Millions more today hope for the chance to call America home.
The Tenement Museum is now celebrating the 50th anniversary of Hart-Celler and the continued contributions of immigrants to America’s powerful narrative.
We are about to begin building a new exhibit to highlight Holocaust survivors, Puerto Rican migrants, and Chinese immigrants who lived at 103 Orchard Street, a tenement newly recognized by Congress and the President as a National Historic Site. The erosion of national origins legislation made their lives on the Lower East Side possible.
Please contribute today to support the Tenement Museum’s ambitious plans and help us interpret the role of contemporary immigration in shaping New York—and our nation.
Don’t hesitate to call (212) 431-0233 x211 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
We hope to welcome you to the Museum soon.
Morris J. Vogel