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Karyn Parsons on SweetBlackBerry.org

Karyn Parsons on SweetBlackBerry.org

Karyn Parsons

SweetBlackBerry.org is a non-profit organization whose mission is to bring little known stories of African American achievement to children everywhere.

These triumphant stories of individuals in history surmounting the odds and making invaluable contributions to our society are inspirational and empowering for all children. Through outreach programs, educational films and teaching guides, we can bring these stories directly to children in their homes and schools. Stories that allow children of all races and ethnicities to feel a sense of shared history.

We all know the impact of media. An abundant amount of research reveals that media designed with a specific goal to teach academic or social skills can be effective with potentially long-lasting effects. By harnessing the power of the media to teach, the Sweet Blackberry Foundation offers parents and educators an opportunity to plant seeds that inspire the soul.

Karyn Parsons, best known as the character “Hilary Banks” on the long-running television show, “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” 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.


While growing up, Karyn’s mother, a librarian in the Black Resource Center of a library in South Central Los Angeles, would often share stories with her daughter of African-American accomplishment. Among these was the true story of 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.

The story left an indelible impression on Karyn, but as amazing as Henry’s story might be, she realized that over time it had been largely forgotten. Henry’s tale, as well as those of other African-American heroes, were at risk of being lost forever.

The birth of her first child and her awareness of her own responsibility as a parent to supplement her child’s education, inspired Karyn to create Sweet Blackberry. Sweet Blackberry’s mission is to ensure that Henry’s tale and other incredible stories of African-American achievement will not be lost to history. They will teach, inspire and empower children now and forever.

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