What does it mean to be free?

Thought provoking radio talk show asks, What does it mean to be free?


This is a question I’ve been reflecting on as Frank Thompson (Amherst College ’87) and I (UMass ’98) prepare to travel to Galveston next month to commemorate Juneteenth. My answer to the question is: The physical and mental capacity to lift oneself off the floor and move without assistance in any direction one chooses without fear, or being stopped by external forces or blocked by man made impediments.

My answer derives from observing my daughter who had severe cerebal palsy that effected all her limbs. The tinyest bit of movement from side-to-side was freedom for her and it occurred within the boundaries of her physcal capabilities. For Freedom Seekers desiring to break out of the boundaries of slavery it required both physical and mental agency to envision freedom before one could take freedom. ┬áThis thought is a work in progress for me as I continue to refine my answer. Feel free to add your ideas. The show’s “transcipt” gives responses from some radio listners. Click on the photo below to listen to Notes from America with Kai Wright.
Ayana Mathis discusses the question of freedom in her new book, The Unsettled