Brilliant Black Minds Gave Generations The Gift Of Play

black boy smiling
Alyssa Guznik
January 25, 2023

No matter what may have happened, Black kids found refuge in games, toys, and playtime. It was a simple way to escape, even for a while. It turns out some of the best toys we had were thanks to Black inventors.

It's that one toy everyone has, but no one can remember how they got it or who gave it to them. Industrial designer Charles Harrison ignited imaginations and transported Black kids into worlds unknown with the 3-D View-Master.

Only a few card games can almost destroy Black families (spades anyone?). So it's no surprise that one of those games, Phase 10, was created by a Black man. Starting his business in his parent's basement, Ken Johnson made Phase 10 in 1982. The game has become the 2nd best commercial-selling card game of all time, with over $18.8 million in sales.

Kids of the 80s and 90s know the power of the Supersoaker. Getting our hands on one of these completely changed the game during summer vacations. It's all thanks to Lonnie Johnson’s $2 billion water gun invention.

There's a reason many of us yearn for the nostalgia of toys we played with as children. That kind of joy hits differently. Knowing that some of that joy wouldn't have existed without the genius of Black inventors makes it that much sweeter.

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