BBC radio scotland highlights

ashley bryan

to commemorate 75th anniversary of D-Day


Interview with Ashley Bryan appears 24:00 - 28:00

Ashley Bryan reading “Beautiful Blackbird”.

Ashley Bryan reading “Beautiful Blackbird”.


I Know a Man... Ashley Bryan

Now Available on DVD and Video on Demand

BOOKLIST Editors' Choice Video 2017! 

“The film is ... a wonderful tool to learn about diversity, cultural competency, inclusion and social justice.”

I Know a Man ... Ashley Bryan is said by some to be an antidote to the hatred, racism and division that our country is experiencing.  The film is about this 95-year-old poet/artist who skips and jumps in his heart like a child.  Born in Harlem and raised in the Bronx, Ashley’s talent was nurtured by artist Romare Bearden.  Ashley was drafted out of Cooper Union into the segregated US army at age 19. He served in an all-Black battalion during World War II and preserved his humanity by drawing, stowing supplies in his gas mask. Ashley now lives on the remote Cranberry Islands, Maine, and has been using art his entire life to celebrate joy, mediate the darkness of war and racism, explore the mysteries of faith, and create loving community.  He is a poet/illustrator of over 50 published children's books, and makes magical puppets and sea glass windows from found objects inspired by his African heritage. The film explores his world from the time his father “was given the mop and the broom”, (a reference to Gordon Parks photograph, American Gothic).  He quotes Marian Anderson admonishing “to keep another down you have to hold them down, and therefore cannot  … soar to the potential within you.”  He spreads beauty through his linocut prints exhorting “Let My People Go”. His life story and the art he makes from this wellspring of experience is an inspiration to people of all ages. 

“Exceptional ... handsomely photographed ... What emerges is a vibrant, inspiring, personal portrait of an artist who possesses the desire to help people find (their) inner child ... Highly recommended.”
“Ashley Bryan ... radiates the joy of living completely in the moment.... Students of art
and children’s literature will be inspired by this celebration of the man’s work and life. ...Highly recommended for public, academic and school libraries.”
Elegantly constructed film ... so intriguing and palpably warm ... a vibrant, joyous, utterly engaging piece that carries hints of the full, often painful life Bryan has lived.... and makes something evocative, witty, and thoroughly engaging
— Dennis Perkins, MAINE TODAY
Beautiful Blackbird  by Ashley Bryan.

Beautiful Blackbird by Ashley Bryan.