A Message from Karyn

This month's newsletter follows the devastating news of the deaths of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gigi and others travelling with the NBA legend. We are keeping his family and loved ones in our thoughts as they go through this heartbreaking time.  It is important, during times like this, that we reflect on how precious life is. Keep your loved ones close and make sure you remind them that they are loved as often as you can. 

As we approach February, we're focusing on making sure the Sweet Blackberry community has the resources needed to teach minds young and old of untold triumphs of Black figures in American history. This includes an amazing resource guide from the Southern Poverty Law Center, insights from Mary Eddy Library's annual Black History Month program and much more. If you are an educator and interested in sharing how you celebrate Black history in your classroom, send us an email at admin@sweetblackberry.org. 

All the best, 

Each year we celebrate the legacy civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. made for this country and the timeless values he taught us through courage, truth, justice, compassion, dignity, humility and service. 

A week ago today, this country took the time to reflect on how far we've come as a nation and the many miles ahead.
This month, Sweet Blackberry will commemorate Dr. King's legacy with this amazing Civil Rights Activity Book from the  Southern Poverty Law Center aimed at sharing Black Americans' fight for equal justice and opportunity under the law.
Click here to see activities they developed to teach tolerance to children. 
Source: Brainpop
Coming Up: 
Black History Month 

Black History Month is right around the corner and Sweet Blackberry would like to hear from you! 

While it's important to incorporate Black history into curriculums throughout the year, some educators are still left without the resources to share lessons focused on lesser known figures in Black history. This is why, with each Sweet Blackberry film, we develop a teaching guide for educators so that students are able to reflect and learn from our stories. In addition to this, Sweet Blackberry has been highlighted in education programs that expand on our lessons -- like Mary Eddy Library's February School Vacation Week. 

Each February, Boston's Mary Eddy Library hosts four full-filled days focused on Black History lessons for children in their community. Over the years, Mary Eddy Library has hosted more than 600 children and parents allowing them to attend workshops, film screenings and drop-in art classes.Recently, Museum Educator Marie Palladino contributed to the Sweet Blackberry blog giving us more background on the program and a few amazing photos of the children in action. You can read Marie's post here

Are you incorporating Black history lessons into your curriculum this school year? Contribute to our blog! Contact admin@sweetblackberry.org for more information. You may also find additional resources for Black History Month lessons via Brainpop here
Ellington was not a street
By: Ntozake Shange
In a reflective tribute to the African-American community of old, noted poet Ntozake Shange recalls her childhood home and the close-knit group of innovators that often gathered there. These men of vision, brought to life in the majestic paintings of artist Kadir Nelson, lived at a time when the color of their skin dictated where they could live, what schools they could attend, and even where they could sit on a bus or in a movie theater.

Yet in the face of this tremendous adversity, these dedicated souls and others like them not only demonstrated the importance of Black culture in America, but also helped issue in a movement that "changed the world." Their lives and their works inspire us to this day, and serve as a guide to how we approach the challenges of tomorrow.

Check it out here
Kobe Bryant 
Yesterday, the world lost a legend. Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna (Gigi), died tragically in a helicopter crash on their way to Gigi's basketball game. Kobe was the coach of her team. 

Many know Kobe for his accomplishments throughout his historic, 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, but even after retirement, he didn't stop working hard to support and nurture his family and community. This could be seen through his work through the Kobe Bryant and Vanessa Bryant Foundation which is dedicated to improving the lives of youth and families in need, both domestically and globally. You can see it through his Mamba Sports Academy. You could also see it through the pieces of his life he shared through social media. The time he shared with his daughters. The moments he shared with his wife. It is devastating to witness and we can only imagine the pain his loved ones are going through. 

You can read more about the life of Kobe Bryant here
What  We're R eading 

I am the inspiration behind the iconic Betty Boop cartoon
I regularly performed at the Cotton Club during the 1920s
I toured Europe in 1929 and became the highest-paid child artist in the world. 

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

The answer to last month's trivia was Mariah Carey. Congrats @roman78