A Message from Karyn

Early fall greetings from us to you! We're back from our summer hiatus to bring you some exciting news as we round out September. 

As a reminder, our goal at Sweet Blackberry is to share lesser known stories of African American triumph to people everywhere. We do this through our films, school and community visits, fundraisers, sharing articles and facts via social media and much more. As many of you know, we recently completed our latest film, Flying Free: The Bessie Coleman Story which was screened at Kickstarter HQ earlier this year and at the Martha's Vineyard African American Film Festival this summer. For those who have supported the campaign, we've shared digital downloads of the film.  This month, we're happy to announce that we will be mailing out our Bessie DVDs as we've recently completed our design and placed orders. We truly appreciate all of your patience throughout this process and we couldn't be able to share Bessie's story without you. 

As a next step, we're working on developing a school curriculum guide to accompany the film. We're also able to screen this film at school and community visits moving forward. If you would like to bring Sweet Blackberry to your area, feel free to contact us at admin@sweetblackberry.org. 

In addition to the Bessie news, I wanted to share some personal news as well. Earlier this year, I debuted my first novel, 'How High The Moon.' Set in the Jim Crow Era, the story follows a young girl as she navigates through many life changes including the unjust murder conviction of her classmate. Since its debut, I've had the privilege of touring around the country, meeting many of you, and sharing this story inspired by the later overturned conviction of 14-year old George Stinney Jr. 

Be sure to check out all that's happening this month below and wishing you the best as summer comes to an end and we begin to embrace fall.  



Celebrating Black Educators

Cornell West. Ramona Edelin. Booker T. Washington. These prominent Americans have all played their part elevating the American education system.  

With school officially back in session, Sweet Blackberry is recognizing these individuals and other Black educators who made their mark in American history and created opportunities for people of color when there weren't any. 

Be sure to check out this month's activity to test your knowledge on these Black history trailblazers. 
Sweet Blackberry Remembers: Four Little Girls

What did integration mean for Americans? In school, we often learn about the Little Rock Nine and Ruby Bridges. We hear about protesters outside of schools and the need for federal guards to help students attend classes. What other backlash did Black communities experience as a result of integration? In some parts of the country, parents pulled their children out of public schools and into private schools to avoid integration. In other areas, supremacist activity rose. 

On September 15, 1963, eleven days after a federal court mandated the integration of Alabama's school system, members of the Klu Klux Klan planted dynamite under the front steps of the African-American 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. It exploded as five girls were playing in the basement bathroom changing into their choir robes. Four of them didn't survive. 

This historical event, much like many others, really shows the impact the Civil Rights movement played on children. We hope that you continue  to let your children know how these events fit in American history, and, for many, the chance at an equal education will continue to be something we fight for. 
Kickstarter Update: 
Sweet Blackberry DVDs

Exciting news! We have completed the design of our Bessie Coleman DVDs and will be putting your copies in the mail soon. This mailing will include those who are also set to receive the full DVD Anthology and Janet Collins DVDs. 

To our Kickstarter supporters, thanks so much for your patience throughout this project, we truly appreciate all of your support. 

As always, if you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact us at  admin@sweetblackberry.com. 
Read All About It! 

Bring Sweet Blackberry To Your Area

Want to bring Sweet Blackberry to your area? You got it! Sweet Blackberry will come to your school or community event to share our mission and the triumphant stories of individuals surmounting the odds and making invaluable contributions to our society. 

As you know, Black history is rarely touched on in our schools and even if it is, it's often only about a handful of individuals and usually during the shortest month of the year. Sweet Blackberry's stories illustrate the concept that tremendous obstacles are actually opportunities for greatness! 

Sweet Blackberry visits all come with a film screening, hands on activity, teaching guides and a questions and answer session with our founder, Karyn Parsons. 

To learn more about these visits, please contact us at admin@sweetblackberry.org
Book of the Month: 
This Promise of Change: One Girl's Story in the Fight for School Equality

By Jo Ann Allen Boyce and Debbie Levy

In 1956, one year before federal troops escorted the Little Rock 9 into Central High School, fourteen year old Jo Ann Allen was one of twelve African-American students who broke the color barrier and integrated Clinton High School in Tennessee. 

At first things went smoothly for the Clinton 12, but then outside agitators interfered, pitting the townspeople against one another. Uneasiness turned into anger, and even the Clinton Twelve themselves wondered if the easier thing to do would be to go back to their old school. 

Jo Ann--clear-eyed, practical, tolerant, and popular among both black and white students---found herself called on as the spokesperson of the group. But what about just being a regular teen? This is the heartbreaking and relatable story of her four months thrust into the national spotlight and as a trailblazer in history. 

Based on original research and interviews and featuring back matter with archival materials and notes from the authors on the co-writing process.

Check out this book on Amazon Smile here

I was a Dean of Howard University Law School in the 1930s. 
I argued cases at the U.S. Supreme Court that created the legal foundation for Brown V. Board of Education. 
I trained and mentored a generation of black attorneys including Thurgood Marshall. 

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