A Message from Karyn

As we make our way through summer, life in some areas of the country are still significantly impacted by the pandemic. We are all still learning to work with new restrictions, ways to see family members and all of the safety precautions we need to take for ourselves and our loved ones. This month, Sweet Blackberry wanted to provide you with content that's not so heavily COVID-19 focused but at the same time, offer options and keep you informed on hot topics in the news. We are also honoring the legacies of Representative John Lewis, Reverend C.T. Vivian and actress Naya Rivera. 

Be sure to check out our "What We're Reading" section. You'll find a lot of beneficial information there. We've also provided a little idea that'll allow you to leave the house for an activity while safely social distancing. 

Separately, we're excited to announce that Flying Free: The Bessie Coleman Story is available for DVD purchase alongside our other titles. If you click the image below, it'll take you directly to our store. 

Please be safe, no matter what you do. Remember to wash your hands, wear a mask in public places and be kind. 

All the best,

Celebrating Black Athletes 

It looks like professional sports are working to get back in action. Many leagues such as the NBA, Major League Soccer and WNBA are setting up "bubbles" and writing safety protocols to ensure athletes health.   While it's been a difficult start, we want to shine a light on these athletes as they brave this new challenge.   To read more how sports are changing due to COVID-19, click here
When Great Trees Fall 
Remembers John Lewis & C.T. Vivian 

"When great trees fall, rocks on distant hill shudder, lions hunker down in tall grasses, and elephants lumber after safety." The poem by the legendary Maya Angelou illustrates how the world has felt this month after the deaths of two civil rights leaders, Representative John Lewis and Reverend C.T. Vivian. 

Selma is often the first thing that comes to mind when we think of Rep. John Lewis. As a young man, Lewis survived a brutal police beating at Selma and ton only later become a congressional giant. Rep. Lewis served this country for three decades and always worked to fight for what was right -- being arrested more than 40 times while fighting against racial and social injustice. 

Rev. C.T. Vivian was often referred as the "lieutenant" of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. His first peaceful protest took place 13 years before the well-known Greensboro sit-ins, and he spent most of his life fighting racial injustice.  In 1955, he helped translate the ideas that later became the Freedom Rides. Like Rep. Lewis, Rev. Vivian also played a role at Selma. In 1965, he confronted Sheriff Jim Clark and other officers advocating for voters rights. 

Both of these giants earned Presidential Medals of Freedom under President Barack Obama and continued to dedicate their lives to advocating for those often overlooked and ignored well after the Civil Rights Movement. 

"And when great souls die, after a period of peace blooms, slowly and always irregularly. Spaces fill with a kind of soothing electric vibration. Our senses, restored, never to be the same, whisper to us. They existed. They existed. We can be. Be and be better. For they existed." - Maya Angelou

To read more about their legacies, click here
Book of the Month
Let The Children March
By: Monica Clark-Robinson

In 1963 Birmingham, Alabama, thousands of African American children volunteered to march for their civil rights after hearing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speak. They protested the laws that kept black people separate from white people. Facing fear, hate, and danger, these children used their voices to change the world. Frank Morrison's emotive oil-on-canvas paintings bring this historical event to life, while Monica Clark-Robinson's moving and poetic words document this remarkable time.

Check it out on Amazon Smile here. 
Naya Rivera

Early this week, we learned of the untimely passing of Afro-Latina actor and singer Naya Rivera. Best known for her role as Glee's Santana Lopez, Rivera broke barriers playing a strong, relatable LGBTQ+ character on primetime television. Naya began her career in the entertainment industry at an early age. Naya played the role of Hillary Winston on the CBS sitcom The Royal Family (starring comedian Red Foxx) and later went on to earn guest spots in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Family Matters, Smart Guy, The Bernie Mac Show and much more.  

Our hearts go out to Naya's loved ones, including her 4-year old son, Josey.  To read more on Naya's legacy, read here
What We're Reading!

Check This Out
Drive-In Theaters Are Making A Comeback

In an unforeseen twist, drive-in theaters are making a comeback all over the country to what seems to be the perfect social distancing activity. 

As you know, many traditional movie theater chains remain closed, but for this activity, you're safe in the car with your family. 

During the 1950s and 60s, drive-ins were very important to cinema, though many restricted Black patrons to designated movie times, separate entrances, concessions and toilet facilities. However, civil rights legislation of the 1960s ultimately brought an end to this -- but the drive-in era was also winding down and before the pandemic, they were hard to come by. 

Here is a website that provides information on drive-in theaters around the country. 
In 2013, I became the first African American driver since Wendel Scott (1963) to win a race in one of NASCAR's three national series
I am also the first African American driver at the highest level of NASCAR since Bill Lester in 2006 
In 2008, I became the youngest driver to win at Franklin County Speedway in Virginia

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