A Message from Karyn

It's here! Flying Free: The Bessie Coleman Story is finally complete. Sharing the daring story of the first African American woman to earn her pilot's license, this Laurence Fishburne narrated animation will roll out at a handful of premiere events around the country. If you're interested in bringing Bessie to your town, don't hesitate to let us know. 

In addition to the Bessie excitement, February also marks Black History Month, a month chosen by African American historian Carter G. Woodson for reasons of tradition and reform. Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass were both born in February and during the late 1800s many Black communities held celebrations for both leaders throughout the month. 

This month's newsletter is filled with celebratory milestones including the chance to test your Black History knowledge with a Jeopardy-like activity. 

We would like to extend our thanks to our strong community as we continue to position ourselves as a strong resource for educational information proving again and again that Black History has a place in American History books. We hope you enjoy this newsletter and are able to introduce your friends, family and colleagues to Sweet Blackberry this Black History Month. 


Celebrating Black History Month 

Did you know, Black History Month started out as "Negro History Week" in 1926?   Though Sweet Blackberry celebrates Black history all year, it's important to note Carter G. Woodson's accomplishment of creating this nation-wide holiday. 

This month, Sweet Blackberry will post a weekly Jeopardy-like puzzle on our Facebook and Twitter accounts so you can test your Black History knowledge all month long. Winners will get shoutouts on our social pages! 

Check out the first puzzle here

What's Next for
 Bessie Coleman?

If we haven't shouted it loud enough already, we're happy to share that our latest film, Flying Free: The Bessie Coleman Story is now complete!

We kicked off this milestone with a premiere screening at the Museum of the Moving Image in NYC where our founder, Karyn Parsons, discussed the film and the need to share lesser known stories of African American triumph to people everywhere. From February 16-24, the Museum will also present daily screenings of three Sweet Blackberry shorts, as part of Family Programs during Midwinter Recess.

In addition to the premiere screenings of the film, we are also working on completing all Kickstarter rewards for members who have yet to receive items. We will be sure to keep you up-to-date on all things Bessie and Sweet Blackberry related as we continue to pull together our distribution plan. 

What's Next? 
Now that the film is complete, we're sure the big question everyone about concerns the organization's next steps. We're currently working on a plan to have the film available to stream online as well as make the film available for teachers and community resource centers around the country. If you are a community leader looking to bring Bessie to your town, feel free to contact us at admin@sweetblackberry.org for more information. We are also working on developing educational materials associated with the film including a teaching guide, puzzle and games. 

Again, we cannot thank you enough for your continued support of this project. We could not have completed it without the support of all of you! 
What We're Reading

Black History Month Programming 

Through the lens of talented filmmakers, we can re-live iconic moments in history like the 1963 March on Washington or climb aboard a Greyhound bus to join the Freedom Riders on their journey through the Jim Crow South. Documentaries offer rich insight into our society and culture, connect us to some of our proudest and most shameful moments in American history, and remind us of how far we've come. Click  here to check out this list of Black History Month programing from PBS. 

Looking for content for the young ones? Click  here to see family-oriented programing including Sweet Blackberry titles on Netflix. 

Book of The Month: 
How High The Moon

We may have forgot to mention that our founder Karyn Parsons has her first novel coming out next month! 

In the small town of Alcolu, South Carolina, in 1944, 12-year-old Ella spends her days fishing and running around with her best friend Henry and cousin Myrna. But life is not always so sunny for Ella, who gets bullied for her light skin tone, and whose mother is away pursuing a jazz singer dream in Boston.

So Ella is ecstatic when her mother invites her to visit for Christmas. Little does she expect the truths she will discover about her mother, the father she never knew and her family's most unlikely history.

And after a life-changing month, she returns South and is shocked by the news that her schoolmate George has been arrested for the murder of two local white girls.

Bittersweet and eye-opening, How High the Moon is a timeless novel about a girl finding herself in a world all but determined to hold her down.

Preorder your copy here
I protested U.S. racism and human oppression (along with John Carlos) on the winner's podium at the 1968 Summer Olympics. 
I was born in Clarkville, Texas. 
I was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1978. 

Who am I? 
Tweet your answer to  @SwtBlackberry  for a shout out in next month's newsletter!