A Message from Karyn

As we make our way through Black History Month, Sweet Blackberry would like to thank our community for its support and dedication to spreading our message. 

Though Black history is American history and belongs in school books and history lessons all throughout the year, February allows us the opportunity to truly focus on the milestones we have crossed and to share the untold stories that many should hear. 

If you're looking to share Black history lessons with this, or any month, feel free to check out any one of Sweet Blackberry's animated films available on Netflix or the "Printables" page on our website

With that said, we're excited to share this month's content with you including a brief explanation of why Black History Month is in the month of February, award show highlights, and even the history of the ever-relevant American Civil Liberties Union. 

We hope you enjoy this note and wish you a very happy February. 


Celebrating Black History Month 
Did you know Black History Month began as "Negro History Week," which was created in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson, a noted African-American historian, scholar, educator and publisher? 

Woodson chose February for reasons of tradition and reform.  It is commonly said that Woodson selected February to encompass the birthdays of two great Americans who played a prominent role in shaping black history, namely Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, whose birthdays are the 12th and the 14th, respectively.  More importantly, he chose them for reasons of tradition.  Since Lincoln's assassination in 1865, the black community, along with other Republicans, had been celebrating the fallen President's birthday.  And since the late 1890s, black communities across the country had been celebrating Douglass'. 

Though Sweet Blackberry celebrates Black history all year, it's important to note Woodson's accomplishment of creating this nation-wide holiday. This February, Sweet Blackberry put together a crossword puzzle filled with information on well-known and lesser-known Black history facts. Be sure to check out this month's activity here

Read All About It! 

American Civil Liberties Union 

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was formed in 1920 to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States. 

The organization is known to provide legal assistance in cases when it considers civil liberties to be at risk and has worked with such organizations as the National Associate for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to decrease racism and discrimination and even defended Japanese-American citizens attempting to prevent their forceful relocation interment camps. Brown vs. Board of Education and Miranda vs. Arizona were both successful through the efforts of the ACLU. 

Recently, the ACLU has assisted those affected by the current Administration's Muslim ban by successfully lobbying for a stay of the executive order so detainees can be let go as well as filing for documents of implementation.

During this trying time when many Americans' civil liberties are at risk, it's important to understand what resources are available and also how to support our loved ones and neighbors. Be sure to visit the ACLU website to see what they're all about here

Did you see the Google doodle on Bessie Coleman last month? 

Sweet Blackberry continues to raise funds 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. 

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. 

We would like to thank the Sweet Blackberry community for their continuous support. We could not be more grateful!  
2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards

Out of the 13 awards presented at the 23rd annual SAG awards, seven were to individual winners and casts of color. Among them, Hidden Figures took the top honor of Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion picture, Moonlight's Mahershala Ali won Outstanding Supporting Actor and Denzel Washington and Viola Davis took home awards for best actor and outstanding supporting actress respectively.

With the Oscar's later this month with a much more diverse line up than last year's ceremony,  we can only think about Viola Davis' speech at the 2015 Emmy award ceremony: 
"You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there. Here is to all the writers...people who have redefined what it means to be beautiful, sexy, to be a leading woman, to be black." 

Congratulations to the SAG winners and this year's Oscar nominees. May the world recognize you for your strength and see that you for all of the value you that you possess. 
I was a major force in the Black Arts movement. 
I published my first book of poems, Black Feeling, Black Talk in 1968. 
I established the first Black Arts Festival in Cincinnati. 

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 Tracee Ellis Ross! Congratulations  @ShaunBai, @MsShy875, and @DJHH for answering correctly.