Congressional School Blog

A Moment in Black History: Matthew and Marnel Goins

Young People Who Were Change Makers

By: Edwin P. Gordon, PhD, Head of School


Puzzle Huddle founder Matthew Goins in his family’s living room, which currently doubletimes as a warehouse. Copyright: Tyrone Turner / DCist/ WAMU

Matthew and Marnel Goins is a young African American couple with three young children who met while in college at Howard University. They believe that all children should be represented in a variety of toy products. As a result, they decided to create puzzles that affirm and inspire diverse children. In 2018 they founded a children’s puzzle company known as Puzzle HuddleMatthew left his job in the technology field to run the business full-time and spends his days packaging puzzles for shipment, managing the company’s popular Instagram account, and co-parenting his three kids.

Puzzle Huddle isn’t your typical toy company. All of its puzzles feature diverse characters in scenes depicting prestigious career options — astronaut, veterinarian, chef, politician. The company also offers shirts and pillows with its characters. In one popular puzzle, a young girl with her dark hair in two puff balls pours liquid into a beaker, a determined look in her goggled eyes.

The company grew out of Matthew and Marnel’s personal experience shopping for their young children. While searching unsuccessfully for age-appropriate toys with characters that looked like their own kids, they discovered there weren’t many at all.  So, they decided to fix the problem and began constructing puzzles by printing out images from Google, gluing them onto cardboard and cutting out the pieces.  From there, this idea turned into a full-fledged business.  As they say out in the toy business, “Representation Matters.”

Matthew and Marnel used their love for working on puzzles and their desire to give their kids toys that look like them to change the landscape in children’s puzzles. They are this week’s Black History Month’s Changemakers.

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Edwin P. Gordon, PhD

Head of School

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