A Message from Karyn

This year seems to be flying by! As we make our way towards summer, Sweet Blackberry is delighted to announce cool, Memorial Day inspired May activities and a new fundraiser kicking off in the month of June.

In honor of Memorial Day, this month's newsletter includes a guide, informational video and trivia highlighting the accomplishments of African Americans in the U.S military since it began. In addition, our book of the month is Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson. It's about a former slave joining  the military during the battle of Valley Forge. If you have a book recommendation for next month, be sure to let us know!  

As you may know, we've been fundraising for our latest animated film sharing the story of the first African-American female pilot Bessie Coleman. Starting June 20th, Sweet Blackberry will begin its month long Kickstarter campaign to raise funds and create excitement within the Sweet Blackberry community about Bessie's amazing story. 

Be sure to keep an eye out for ways to help such as getting the word out and providing in-kind donations to support the animation process. 

African Americans 
In The Military

For years, African Americans have played an integral role in the United States military. From the Tuskegee Airmen to the Africa- American women serving in the WAC there is a lot of unknown and unspoken history to be shared with younger and future generations. 

As  May marks the celebration of Memorial Day, we salute you and commemorate the time daring men and women gave to serve our country.

Check out this Sweet Blackberry activity highlighting the history of African Americans in the military. 

In addition to this month's activity, check out animator David Heredia's amazing animated short sharing the story of the Harlem Hellfighters, one of the most celebrated African-American military units in U.S. history, as a part of his Heroes of Color series. Click the photo below to view the animation. 

On June 20th, Sweet Blackberry plans to kickoff a month long Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to our latest project sharing the story of the first African-American female pilot, Bessie Coleman.

This animated short will take children and adults alike through Coleman's journey and determination to defy odds by moving to France from Atlanta, Texas to learn to fly. 

This Bessie Coleman project will join our collection of short films teaching children little known Black history stories such as the stories of Henry "Box" Brown, Janet Collins and Garrett Morgan. 

There are many ways the Sweet Blackberry community can support this project from providing in-kind and monetary donations to simply "tweeting" your support on social media. If you're interested in supporting Sweet Blackberry with our Kickstarter campaign on a daily or weekly basis, feel free to contact us at admin@sweetblackberry.org. 

Thanks so much for your continues support and let's make this campaign one to remember! 

What We're Reading! 

Bring Sweet Blackberry 
To Your School

Want to incorporate stories of African-American achievement into your lesson plans? Sweet Blackberry will come to your school to share these triumphant stories of individuals surmounting the odds and making invaluable contributions to our society. 

As you know, these American stories are rarely taught in our schools due to the lack of time and resources. Sweet Blackberry's stories illustrate for our children the concept that tremendous obstacles are actually opportunities for greatness! 

To learn more about our school visits, please contact us at admin@sweetblackberry.org
Book of The Month
Forge: By Laurie Halse Anderson

In this compelling sequel to Chains, a National Book Award Finalist and winner of the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction, acclaimed author Laurie Halse Anderson shifts perspective from Isabel to Curzon and brings to the page the tale of what it takes for runaway slaves to forge their own paths in a world of obstacles-and in the midst of the American Revolution.
 The Patriot Army was shaped and strengthened by the desperate circumstances of the Valley Forge winter. This is where Curzon the boy becomes Curzon the young man. In addition to the hardships of soldiering, he lives with the fear of discovery, for he is an escaped slave passing for free. And then there is Isabel, who is also at Valley Forge-against her will. She and Curzon have to sort out the tangled threads of their friendship while figuring out what stands between the two of them and true freedom.

Check it out on Amazon Smile  here. 
Sweet Blackberry Visits:
Liberty Elementary School

Sweet Blackberry recently visited the children of Liberty Elementary School in Valley Cottage, New York for a special movie screening and activity. Special thanks to Third Grade Teacher Deborah Barnes who assisted with coordination of the visit and Principal Ellen Rechenberger. 

After our visit, Sweet Blackberry was overwhelmed by the amount of "thanks" we received from Liberty Elementary's amazing students. Check out the beautiful thank you notes they shared below and on our website, here

We were so glad to be able to meet your students and share the stories of inspirational Americans of African decent. Can't wait to see you all again. 

Request For Educators: 
How did you celebrate Black History Month? 

Black History Month has come and gone, and we're curious to know how educators around the nation celebrated the month long holiday with their students. 

Submit photos of your students Black History Month activities to sweetblackberrynewsletter@gmail.com and we will share the photos on our blog and in next month's newsletter. 

Of course, Black history should be shared year-round! So tell us your plans for the remainder of the school year. What historical figures will you highlight in your curriculum? What books will your students read, or what videos will they watch? We'd love to know! 

Simply fill out this form, if interested, and you might just find your classroom featured in an upcoming blog post or newsletter.

I was the first African American to rise to the rank of general in the U.S. army. 
My son was an Air Force general. 
I was a military science professor at Tuskegee University. 

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 Amiri Baraka!