“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” ~ Frederick Douglas – That’s the opening quote when you visit Sweetblackberry.com – the site for Karyn Parson’s non-profit organization whose mission is to bring little known stories of African American achievement to children everywhere. While she is definitely one of my first on-TV natural hair inspirations, she now has moved into a new category of inspiration – a producer of content specifically aimed to make the minds of children better! Best known as the character “Hilary Banks” on the long-running television show, “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” Karyn created the Sweet Blackberry foundation after being inspired by the true tale of a determined slave and the remarkable lengths he would go to in order to find his freedom – and has put her energy into creating animated films bringing this and more stories of Black History to life like never before.

The first DVD in the series is about Henry “Box” Brown, a slave who mailed himself to freedom. Henry was shipped, by wagon, boat and train, from Virginia to Philadelphia. When the box was opened, he became a free man. Using the captivating voices of Alfre Woodard and illustrations by Mark Page, this is a great tool for sharing ‘underground’ stories with our youth.

The second DVD narrated by Queen Latifah and illustrated by R. Gregory Christie, tells of day-dreamer Garrett Morgan, who was always trying to come up with great new inventions, but it wasn’t until he witnessed an accident in the big city that he decided to create a traffic light. By following Garrett on his journey to find his calling, children see that some paths to success are more indirect than others.

Share these stories with your little ones, or with parents you know of little ones, to expand all of our awareness of Black History, and remind ourselves and teach the kids that beyond the most famous icons of our history, there are countless more stories that reinforce that all and any of us can make an impact on the future!

For more info visit:

Sweet Blackberry Foundation official site

@Karyn_Parsons on twitter

Honey Mag interview with Karyn Parsons