A Message from Karyn

This year is flying by! As we make our way through the fall, our November newsletter highlights a range of milestones, important dates and discussions. 

Since our last newsletter, we lost beloved politicians and entertainer John Witherspoon, who brought joy into many homes, watched Tyler Perry reach an amazing milestone by opening one of the largest entertainment studios in the country and have witnessed many newsmakers perking our ears and making our heads turn. 

Be sure to check out the below including this month's activity. For our beloved Kickstarter supporters, we are mailing out the remaining DVD packages and working on the remaining celebrity items as we close out the year. 

Happy Fall! 

Celebrating Black Politicians & Remembering 
Elijah E. Cummings

Each year Sweet Blackberry shares an activity highlighting Black politicians who have made there mark on Capitol Hill. It is with a tender heart that this year, we also highlight the accomplishments of Representative Elijah E. Cummings and Representative John Conyers, who was the longest sitting African American congressman of African descent. 

In school, we are often taught about our civil duties such as obeying the laws, participating in the democratic process, but there are few that go beyond this call of duty and work to develop laws reflective of all people. As American history continues to go on, this could be seen by the diversity coming to congress in recent years. While often times, we highlight the firsts of many (like the activity below), it's also important to recognize the seconds and the thirds. It's important to continuously be represented and this is what these two men did for their communities. 

Elijah E. Cummings will be remembered greatly for the power in his presence. Born the son of sharecroppers, Cummings held a 23-year career on Capitol Hill representing the city of Baltimore where he was born and raised. Cummings was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in 1983 and in 1995, he became the first African American to serve as speaker pro tempore in the Maryland Legislature. Elected in 1996 to the House of Representatives,  Cummings most recently served as the chairman of the House Oversight Committee. In honor of his legacy, flags at Capitol Hill were flown at half-staff. 

Following Sweet Blackberry's mission, to share lesser known triumphs by African Americans throughout history, check out this month's activity highlighting the men and women who became the "first" of many to hold public office at the local, state and national levels. 
Book of The Month 
Infinite Hope

In May of 1942, at the age of eighteen, Ashley Bryan was drafted to fight in World War II. For the next three years, he would face the horrors of war as a black soldier in a segregated army.

He endured the terrible lies white officers told about the black soldiers to isolate them from anyone who showed kindness-including each other. He received worse treatment than even Nazi POWs. He was assigned the grimmest, most horrific tasks, like burying fallen soldiers...but was told to remove the black soldiers first because the media didn't want them in their newsreels. And he waited and wanted so desperately to go home, watching every white soldier get safe passage back to the United States before black soldiers were even a thought.

For the next forty years, Ashley would keep his time in the war a secret. But now, he tells his story.

The story of the kind people who supported him.
The story of the bright moments that guided him through the dark.
And the story of his passion for art that would save him time and time again.

Filled with never-before-seen artwork and handwritten letters and diary entries, this illuminating and moving memoir by Newbery Honor-winning illustrator Ashley Bryan is both a lesson in history and a testament to hope.
Check it out this month on Amazon
Coming Winter 2020:
Sweet Blackberry Online Store

As we continue to mail out the remaining Kickstarter items, we wanted to share some more good news! 

This winter, Sweet Blackberry will launch an online store on our site that will allow you to order our merchandise straight to your door! 

The significance of 
Tyler Perry Studio

Considering the amount of television and films that have been produced over the years, it's pretty hard to believe that not a single one was owned by an African American until Tyler Perry opened his studio.

Last month, Perry celebrated the grand opening of a 330-acre site with state-of-the art production facilities making it one of the largest entertainment studios in the country. It's larger than Paramount, Warner Bros. and Walt Disney's Burbank studios combined. Each soundstage is dedicated to a pioneer in Black entertainment from Oprah to Sidney Poitier and even director John Singleton who passed away earlier this year. 

While the grand opening just occurred, projects have been  filmed on the studios premises including Marvel's Black Panther, Pitch Perfect 3 and all of Perry's current projects. 

In an interview detailing this accomplishment, Perry highlighted the importance being a person of color and being able to own such a huge piece of Hollywood. 

You can read more about Tyler Perry Studios here
What  We're R eading 

Remembering John Witherspoon

On October 29th we lost comedic legend, John Witherspoon. John, who for decades made audiences laugh in TV shows and films, including the Friday feature franchise and the WB's The Wayans Bros. was a kind soul and an extraordinary person. 

We are truly going to miss John and no words can truly capture the heart of his talent. We found a video that we think may help. Of note, viewer discretion is advised. 
John Witherspoon - Funny Moments
John Witherspoon - Funny Moments
I was the first African American popularly elected to the U.S. Senate
I practiced law in Washington, D.C. 
In 2004, President George W. Bush awarded me the Presidential Medal of Freedom 

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