A Message from Karyn

Before I begin, Sweet Blackberry would like to send its condolences to not only those who stood up to white supremacists in Charlottesville but to also those effected in the many forms of terrorism taking place around this country and the world. 

While August marks the end of summer, each day it feels like the year is moving slower as devastating news comes in notification waves to our mobile devices. With that said, we do have good news. We are continuing to fight strong and reach our goal to educate children everywhere on the importance of Black History. Right now, that's focusing on our latest project to share the story of Bessie Coleman. A story that could not move forward without the support of many of you. Thank you. Thanks for your hard work and dedication. We can't wait to show you the film and other cool projects We're currently working on. 

Check out this month's newsletter below focusing on African American travel, art and many things currently happening around the world. 

All the best,
The Negro Motorist Green Book 
Earlier this month, the Missouri chapter of the NAACP issued a travel advisory to minorities traveling in the state. It warned them that their civil rights may be violated due to the state's long history of doing so as well as Senate Bill 43 -- a new state law making it more difficult to sue for housing or employment discrimination. While this advisory may be the first of its kind from the state, it does draw similar parallels to a guide created in Jim Crow America for African-American travelers which offered services and places relatively friendly to African Americans. This guide was The Negro Motorist Green Book written by Victor Hugo Green. 

African-American travelers faced hardships such as white-owned businesses refusing to serve them or repair their vehicles, being refused food accommodation by white-owned hotels, and threats of physical violence and forcible expulsion from all-white neighborhoods that practice a form of segregation by enforcing restrictions to people of color called "sundown towns."

While, the Jim Crow era contrasts greatly to the America we live in today, we are constantly reminded that while much time has passed, there are still people out there willing to hold prejudice due to the learned ignorance that is racism. 
Remembering Dick Gregory
On Saturday, the world lost civil rights trail blazer Dick Gregory. Gregory has been credited by most as the first African-American comedian to reach fame by challenging racism through comedy. One of his  well-known jokes was about him sitting down at a restaurant in the segregated South and being told by the waitress, "We don't serve colored people here." Gregory replied: "That's all right, I don't eat colored people. Just bring me a whole fried chicken."

Dick Gregory was so much more than a man who was able to find humor in uncertain and unfair situations. After standing up for black voter rights in 1963, where he was arrested and beaten by the Birmingham police, Gregory wrote, "It was just body pain, though. The Negro has a callus growing on his soul, and it's getting harder and harder to hurt him there."

Sweet Blackberry would like to extend its condolences to the family and friends of Dick Gregory. May we all face like and injustice with the strength and passion he showed us all. 

We've all watched the news of the devastating hate filled rally that took place in Charlottesville this month. We've watched the President of the United States insult the only Black CEO of a pharmaceutical company Ken Frazier after he became the first business leader to leave the president's advisory council based on his dismissal of the rally. We heard the speech following the death of protester Heather Heyer due to a domestic terrorist deciding it was best to drive his car into a group of innocent people who saw the world as it should be and not how he wanted it. 

While these events seem surreal, it's what our country is collectively facing. Society is in the midst of a  crisis and while there have been many articles offering "solutions," this advice doesn't guarantee we will change the mind of every racist. What it does do is draw pressure on the issue. It forces congressmen to speak and denounce what the president has failed to do. We need to make noise and let those willing to listen that this is not okay. We can't have this part of history repeat itself.  

If you would like to take a stand against hate, there are many resources to turn to. You can contact your congressman here. You may also give monetary donations to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Anti-Defamation League and the ACLU

We would like to once again thank everyone who advocated for our Bessie Coleman Kickstarter campaign last month. We could not have surpassed our goal without the help of the Sweet Blackberry community. We know what you're thinking. Now that it's over, what's next? 

Well, the first thing you should do is check out our donor wall on the website! It currently consists of the names of individuals who did not donate as anonymous via Kickstarter. If you did, and you still want to be featured, that's okay. Just email us at admin@sweetblackberry.org to let us know and we will add you to the list. 

We're currently working on rewards inventory checking and will be to share digital items very soon. The animated film, narrated by Laurence Fishburne is expected to premiere in February 2018, just in time for Black History Month. By this time, each of our supporters should have all items as promised as well at the opportunity to check out the Bessie film in at special screenings held around the country. 

If you have any questions regarding awards or even the projects status, we're just an email away. 
What  We're R eading 
August: Art Appreciation Month
Source: Gordon Parks
Gordon Parks. Kara Walker. Jean-Michel Basqiat. Though you may not realize it at first glance, masterpieces created by African-American artists have rightfully made their mark in United States art history. As we celebrate art this August, check out this cool list of art exhibitions around the country you should definitely see for yourself
Book of The Month
The Blood of Emmett Till 
But what actually happened to Emmett Till-not the icon of injustice, but the flesh-and-blood boy? 

Part detective story, part political history,  The Blood of Emmett Till  "unfolds like a movie" ( The Atlanta Journal-Constitution ), drawing on a wealth of new evidence, including a shocking admission of Till's innocence from the woman in whose name he was killed. "Jolting and powerful" ( The Washington Post ), the book "provides fresh insight into the way race has informed and deformed our democratic institutions" (Diane McWhorter, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of  Carry Me Home ) and "calls us to the cause of justice today" (Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, president of the North Carolina NAACP).
I'm known for my sillhouettes. 
In 2007, I made TIME magazine's "TIME 100" list. 
I art often depicts social issues including gender, race and Black history. 
Who am I? 
Tweet your answer to  @SwtBlackberry  for a shout out in next month's newsletter! 

The answer to last month's trivia question was Audra McDonald!