A Message from Karyn
Before we begin, Sweet Blackberry would like to extend its condolences to those affected by Hurricane Matthew and its tragic impact on the people of Haiti and the various Southern U.S. states. As the storm comes to a close, be sure to keep an ear out for ways you can give back to those in need. 

With the election quickly approaching, this month's newsletter focuses on the history of voting rights and highlights African Americans who have made an impact on our nation's government through advocacy, holding public office and inspiring the lives of generations to come. 

As you make your way through this month's newsletter, be sure to check out this month's highlights, including author Ashley Bryan's recent nomination for illustrated children's book, "Freedom Over Me," top reads for October, information on the new Museum of African American History and Culture and our continued fundraising efforts for our Bessie Coleman project. 

Celebrating  Black Politicians
Barack Obama, Thurgood Marshall and Shirley Chilsolm have all made their milestones by becoming a voice for our country, but have you heard of Crystal Bird Fauset? She was the first African-American woman to be elected to a state House of Representatives. Pinckney Pinchback? He was the first African American to become governor of a U.S. State.

A Must Read:  Freedom Over Me
Sweet Blackberry would like to extend well-deserved congratulations to author Ashley Bryan! Ashley's illustrated children's book, "Freedom Over Me" was announced as a finalist in the Young Peoples Literature Category for the Kirkus Review. 

"Freedom Over Me" tells a powerful story that contrasts the monetary value of a slave with the priceless value of life experiences and dreams no one will every be able to take away. Check it out this month on Amazon
This Month in Black History:
 The History of Voting Rights Among African Americans

In 1965, 100 years after slavery was abolished and ratified, the Voting Rights Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Many of us know the significance of the Selma March and the unnecessary and, at times, abusive treatment Black Americans faced when attempting to register to vote. 

Voting in the United States is a privilege that  many could not gain without passing an impossible literacy test. The Voting Rights Act  aimed to overcome legal barriers at the state and local levels that prevented African Americans from exercising their right to vote.

With this, and the crucial presidential election around the corner, Sweet Blackberry would like to remind its supporters to make sure they are registered to vote. The deadline for the upcoming presidential election is this Friday, October 14, 2016. Be sure to do your research on each candidate and their platform at both the local and national level. Be sure to take advantage of this right that so many African Americans struggled to gain access to not so many years ago. For more information on how to register to vote in your area, click here. If you plan to be away from your home during the election, be sure to register for an absentee ballot. 
What  We're R eading 
Did you know that when you purchase items through Amazon.com, Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charity organization? That's right! This month, we are continuing to encourage you to register Sweet Blackberry as your charity of choice through the AmazonSmile program. Simply register here:  https://smile.amazon.com/
In addition, we are also collecting school supplies to benefit the children of The Earth School in New York CityThe Earth School is a place where children and adults from diverse backgrounds come together to celebrate their differences, to appreciate their common humanity, and to contribute to their community. This school aligns with Sweet Blackberry's mission and we want to give back! We are currently collecting school supplies such as notebooks, pencils, facial tissue and crayons. Simply purchase supplies on AmazonSmile and mail them to: 

The Earth School
Re: Sweet Blackberry School Supply Drive
600 E 6th Street
New York, NY 10009

If you know of a school, youth program or fundraising initiative that aligns with our mission that you would like highlighted in the newsletter feel free to contact us at sweetblackberrynewsletter@gmail.com. 
Check This Out: 
African American History Museum

Last month, the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture opened in our nation's capital bringing in crowds from all over to get a glance at many untold stories of our nation. This is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history and culture. 

President Barack Obama formally opened the new museum along with Ruth Odom Bonner, who's father was born a slave in Mississippi. The museum itself tells the story of U.S. history from an African American's perspective chronologically, rather than thematically, having its visitors start from the very bottom and work their way up. 

It truly is a sight to see and is currently free to the public with a reservation, but the tickets go fast. Advanced times passes through March 2017 are no longer available online or by phone, but you are able to get "Same Day Timed Passes" available each day beginning at 9:15 AM/EST. If you have questions about planning your visit call 1-844-750-3012. You can also visit their website to learn more about the exhibitions and upcoming events at https://mnaahc.si.edu. 
This October, Sweet Blackberry will continue to fundraise for this exciting project sharing the story of the first African American female pilot, Bessie Coleman. This animated short will surround Coleman's journey and determination to defy odds by moving to France from Atlanta, Texas to learn to fly. 

Smithsonian - The First Female African American Pilot
Smithsonian - The First Female African American Pilot

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. Each of these films are currently available on Netflix. 

A special "thank you" goes to our current supporters: Valvia Jefferson, Kimberly Stewart, Patricia Copeland and Beth Prince. 

We appreciate your generous support and could not be more grateful!  
I was mayor of Springfield, OH. 
I am the first Black mayor in the US.  
I also owned and operator of a Springfield funeral home. 
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 Ruby Bridges!