Welcome to the latest puzzle in my ongoing series, Eyes Open, inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and other civil rights protests.
It’s been two months since all the talk about the anniversary of the Tulsa massacre, and it’s amazing how quickly discussion dies down. Tulsa was mentioned everywhere for a few weeks, and suddenly, nothing. The news cycle makes it easy for stories to disappear.
I learned a tremendous amount while doing my research for Eyes Open #22, where I chronicled other lesser-known tragedies like Tulsa that history has either downplayed, forgotten, or whitewashed. The idea that there were so many other Tulsa massacres out there that deserved recognition, understanding, and acknowledgment.
The topic stuck with me.
And while I was working on my Broadway puzzle for Eyes Open #25, three words I heard over and over during the Tulsa coverage wouldn’t leave my thoughts.
Black Wall Street.
So many outlets reported about Tulsa/Greenwood being called Black Wall Street. And like the Tulsa massacre being one of many, I figured that there were probably more Black Wall Streets out there. Other centers of Black commerce, Black businesses thriving and growing.
So I went looking. And I quickly found this amazing Twitter thread by Michael Harriot, along with an article he penned about other Black Wall Streets in America.
I followed his suggestions and his links. And I found more, scattered across the country. Neighborhoods I had never heard of, despite knowing plenty about the cities surrounding them. So many were founded or emerged in the wake of the Civil War, and played a huge role in the lives of the people of color in those regions.
Some, like Tulsa, were targeted and destroyed. Others were lost to gentrification and “revitalization.” Some are celebrated as historic districts, with signposts marking important events and key figures to the neighborhood’s success.
I learned a lot, and there is so much more out there to be learned, if you know to look.
I hope this puzzle serves to engage you as a solver and encourage you to learn more about these important, influential, and underappreciated places, helping to bring them to greater prominence and awareness. I have peppered useful links throughout this post to get you started.
[Click this link to download a PDF of this puzzle.]
If you have suggestions for more topics for me to cover in future puzzles, please let me know. If you’re a person of color and you’d like to share a puzzle of your own, or to collaborate with me on a puzzle, please let me know.
If you’re a member of the LGBTQ community, and you have ideas, please let me know. If you’re a trans person, or a non-binary individual, and you feel underrepresented in puzzles, please let me know.
I would like this to become something bigger, but hopefully, this is at the very least a start.
Thank you for reading. Thank you for standing up, speaking up, and fighting the good fight.
Support LGBTQIA+ people.
Black lives matter.
AAPI lives matter.