A MAN NAMED PEARL tells the inspiring story of self-taught topiary artist Pearl Fryar, whose
unlikely journey to national prominence began with a bigoted remark.
In 1976, Pearl took a job in a can factory in Bishopville, South Carolina. New to this rural
southern town, he and his wife Metra looked at a house for sale in an all-white neighborhood.
The Fryars’ real estate agent was notified by neighbors in the prospective neighborhood that a
black family was not welcome. A homeowner voiced the collective concern: “Black people
don’t keep up their yards.” Pearl was stung by the racial stereotype. But rather than become angry and embittered, it motivated him to prove that misguided man wrong. Pearl bought a house in a “black”
neighborhood and began fashioning a garden that would attract positive attention. His goal was
modest, but clear: to become the first African-American to win Bishopville’s “Yard of the
Month” award. Realizing he would have to do something spectacular to impress the Bishopville garden club, Pearl began cutting every bush and tree in his yard into unusual, abstract shapes. He didn’t know
it then, but he was creating a magical wonderland that would, in time, not only garner local
recognition, but also draw thousands of visitors from across the United States and around the
world. Now 68, Pearl has been featured in dozens of magazines and newspapers, including The New
York Times, as well as several television programs such as CBS Sunday Morning. The media
interest that Pearl and his topiary garden generates helps steer much-needed tourist dollars into
the declining town of Bishopville and Lee County, the poorest county in the state of South
Carolina.But the impact that Pearl and his art have had on his community is not just economic. He’s also had a profound spiritual influence. As Pearl’s minister, Rev. Jerome McCray, says of the garden:
“It’s the one place in all of South Carolina that people can go, both black and white, and feel
Visit the amazing life of Pearl Fryar, in this very educational entertaining documentary. It is astounding the many lessons one can learn from this one man who created a beautiful garden. As the viewer learns about Pearl’s life, thoughts and passions, he will be an encouragement to everyone. With great pleasure The Dove Foundations awards the Dove “Family-Approved” Seal to this documentary.