A Message from Karyn

As we begin to work our way through summer with Father's Day and many other celebrations in tow, Sweet Blackberry would like to take the time to pay its respect to the victims and families of the June 12th shootings in Orlando, Florida, now marked as the deadliest mass shooting in US History. Our thoughts and prayers are with and will continue to be with you. 

This summer, Sweet Blackberry is dedicated to not only celebrating but educating children on lesser-known black history stories. We currently have a growing list of monthly printable activities you are able to share in schools, summer camps and/or in your home. In recent months we have celebrated African American women in fitness and the history of African Americans in the military. With the Tony Awards this month, we took the time to create this word search recognizing Broadway pioneers and companies. 

Fundraising is underway for our fourth animated film sharing the story of Bessie Coleman, the first African American female pilot. We are currently looking for ways to raise money from crowd-funding to applying for grants. If you know of any organization we should reach out to, be sure to let us know. 

All the best,
African Americans on Broadway 

With predominately black theatre companies dominating the Tony Awards this past weekend from amazing Broadway musicals such as The Color Purple, Hamilton, and Eclipsed, Sweet Blackberry would like to recognize the talented men and women who paved the way for people of color choosing to pursue a career on the stage. 

Here is this month's activity sharing the stories of many Broadway actors and shows. 
What is Juneteenth? 
Did you know that many blacks living in the south were not aware they were free until two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation?  On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger landed at Galveston, Texas spreading news that the Civil War was now over and anyone enslaved was now free. Due to the small amount of Union troops to enforce Lincoln's Executive Order, it wasn't until General Granger made it to Texas that forces were strong enough overcome resistance. 

The reactions to this news ranged from shock to jubilation. Many former slaves remained with their former masters embracing the new employer/employee relationships and others left believing that removing themselves from the plantations where generations had faced oppression would be their first breath of freedom. 

The recognition of June 19th coined Juneteenth celebrates African American freedom and achievement while continuing to grow in cities and states throughout the United States. To learn more about Juneteenth, click here
Remembering Muhammad Ali
Three-time heavyweight boxing champion. Olympian. Father. Activist. These are all terms used to describe the great Muhammad Ali who passed away this month due to a respiratory illness aggravated by Parkinson's disease. He was 74. 
Known for his polarizing persona, Ali, born Cassius Clay, set a precedent for future generations of athletes to wade into both social and political issues today. His sharp tongue and political involvement regarding his beliefs both inside and outside of the ring made him one of the most universally known figures of the 20th century. 
He came across boxing by chance. Someone stole his bike and he crossed paths with Joe Martin, a black officer in the Louisville Police Department. The 12 year old Cassius Clay told the officer he wanted to pummel the thief when he found him. "You better learn to fight before you start fighting," Martin replied. He later invited Clay to join him at Columbia Gym and he won his first amateur fight later that year. He went on to win six Kentucky Golden Gloves titles and two national ones as an amateur leading him to gold as he participated on the U.S. boxing team at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. 
In February 1964, Clay faced world heavyweight-boxing champion, Sonny Liston who was expected to win with seven-to-one odds. Clay won. Liston quit in the seventh round. Clay was now the undisputed heavyweight champion. Two days later Clay affirmed his rumored membership in the Nation of Islam and changed his name. 
Sweet Blackberry would like to pay its respects to the great Muhammad Ali and his family during this rough time. Ali inspired many and he continues to inspire us all. 
Support Sweet Blackberry's New Bessie Coleman Story

We are currently fundraising for our latest 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 is currently available on Netflix. 

To pledge support Sweet Blackberry and donate to the Bessie Coleman Story, click here.
Sweet Blackberry Celebrates Dads! 

With Father's Day just around the corner, Sweet Blackberry is asking you to share Father's Day inspired stories, poems, illustrations and pictures. A gallery of submissions will be created and shared on our Facebook Father's Day weekend. Please submit all content to sweetblackberrynewsletter@gmail.com
I am the first African-American winner in a Broadway play. 
I voiced/played the father of Simba, Luke and Hakeem. 
I have won a Tony, Oscar, Emmy and Golden Globe,
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 Carl Brashear! Congrats @BIndeed for answering last month's trivia correctly.