Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: Biography
Birdena Bishop – Staff/Personnel
BIRDENA BISHOP A Philosophy of Freedom PMSS Commencement Speech 1942
A PHILOSOPHY OF FREEDOM
TRANSCRIPTION: 1942 Commencement Speech
A PHILOSOPHY OF FREEDOM
Birdena Bishop, a Teacher
We all have a fairly definite idea as to what we mean by freedom. We think we possess freedom — in this our beautiful, progressive, democratic land — and we are willing to undergo almost any sacrifice in order to preserve it. Such is our political and religious freedom, but I would have us think for just a moment about our personal or spiritual freedom.
When we look for the word in our dictionaries we find that the Latin, “liber” l-i-b-e-r means free in the sense of generous, liberate – to set free from bondage, liberty — a synonym for freedom itself. We speak of having had a liberal arts education. Our years in high school have been just that, a liberal education or a freeing education. What has been set free? Our minds. They have been unlocked, opened. They are free to travel just as far as our sympathies and understandings reach. We have dipped into a number of fields of knowledge, perhaps we have had little more than an introduction, but we have a speaking acquaintance, we know just as surely as when we are presented to a new friend, that here or there we have found something that bears further acquaintance, something that must be cultivated. So it is that we all find our special interests, and abilities, and we are prepared to keep right on advancing, studying, putting into practice, working in school, or out of school to use that individual talent which we have found to be ours to the end that we create something which is our worthy contribution to the sum of good things that men have done and will do.
But our interest is not selfishly confined to our own works. We have gained sufficient appreciation in a number of fields so that we warmly lend a helping hand and give encouragement to our neighbors whose labors lie in different directions.
Had our liberal education not set us free we would be bound by ignorance (which means simply lack of knowledge). We might also be bound by other negative, unbeautiful traits — intolerance, fears, hate, envy, jealousy, suspicion, superstition, prejudice — all of them more dreadful, more fatal to our freedom of soul and spirit, than clinking chains of iron. We might have been our own jailers.
How good to know that truth and knowledge have been set before us and we have partaken. Let us guard and cherish this inner freedom which is ours when our thoughts are good, our aspirations and ideals high. How do we become and stay free? The way is so simple. It is the Christ – way.
BIRDENA BISHOP (Biography)
BIRDENA BISHOP 1944 KITCHEN REPORTS
PINE MOUNTAIN COMMUNITY STUDY [Berea College archive]
COMMUNITY STUDY MAP (Created by Birdena Bishop)
GUIDE TO BIRDENA BISHOP SCRAPBOOK COLLECTION
BIRDENA BISHOP — Chapel Talk (PMSS) November 22, 1942
BIRDENA BISHOP – Women’s Assembly Talk, Berea College, March 28, 1942
BIRDENA BISHOP – JANE AND JIM PROGRESS REPORTS FOR 1940-1943
BIRDENA BISHOP PHOTOGRAPH ALBUM
BIRDENA BISHOP A Philosophy of Freedom, talk for 1942 Commencement at PMSS. [4 pages]