by Ashley Bryan
Based on an original estate-appraisal document from 1828, Ashley Bryan's poetry gives voices to 11 enslaved individuals, imagining not only their daily lives but their hopes for the future. While the document that inspired these poems contained no information about each person's age, occupation, or relationships, Bryan vibrantly weaves these details together in free verse. His author's note states "My art and writing of this story aim to bring the slaves alive as human beings." Close portraits of each person against a backdrop of historic documents contrast with the colorful and celebratory depictions of their dreams, in which each individual is centered in their community. Bryan is as prolific as he is profound; Freedom Over Me was published when he was in his 90s. Visit The Ashley Bryan Center to learn more about his fascinating life and the rich legacy of his work.
See the Jones Library Antiracism Book List for recommended titles for all ages