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Many know how George Floyd died. A new biography reveals how he lived: NPR

A mural of George Floyd at a murdered crossroads in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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A mural of George Floyd at a murdered crossroads in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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Even now, two years after his murder, most people only know how George Floyd died. Below the knees of a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Many do not know how he lived. He always told his friends that he loved them. In most cases, it was an all-capital text message. He was aware of his 6’6 inch frame and suffered from his lifelong claustrophobia. He and his Minneapolis roommate moved the mattress to the living room next to each other.

“They wanted to keep an eye on each other. They wanted to meet each other in rehab and help them not get lost,” said Robert Samuels, a journalist for state affairs. The Washington Post.

“George Floyd understood that they were in a society that was intolerant of their mistakes and that they needed to be attentive to each other in order to overcome them.”

Samuels and his colleague Truth Orornipa are the authors of a new biography, His name is George Floyd: A Struggle for the Life and Racial Justice of a Man.. A pair of reporters say the book is a story about how racism, which began over 150 years ago, affected every part of Floyd’s life.

“We traced his ancestors to his great-grandfather, who was born and enslaved in North Carolina and was able to gain his freedom after the Civil War,” Orornipa said. “And he quickly saved enormous wealth and land by cultivating land with a large family, but at the turn of the century he lost all of his land due to fraudulent tax sales and suspicious commerce. Couldn’t transfer. One of it to his descendants. “

According to Orornipa, it was important to show why Floyd became the poorest in the world.

“I saw George Floyd’s family deprived of wealth because of racism, and it affected his life,” Orornipa said. “It influenced his beginnings and essentially put him in a world born of two strikes as a black and poor man in the United States.”

Orornipa and Samuels talked to NPR Taking everything into account About Floyd’s character, his perception of his physical existence, his failure, and that he was on his way back from them.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Q & A Interview Highlights

Florid: One of the details that surprised me in your report and appears many times throughout the book, he really knew that his kind of presence as a big black man often scared people. about it. Why did he jump into this aspect of his character?

Orornipa: Floyd’s last moments are the key to understanding those moments we all saw in the horror video of being attacked by the police. From his early days, he entered the room and shook his hands to reassure everyone. “I know I’m a big guy. My size may scare you, but you know, look at me with your eyes. I’m okay, I’ll give you I’m not going to hurt. “And that was a big part of his character.

Samuels: It was also one of the cruelest contradictions about himself. By the time he enters high school, he is this tall green bean of a man. And soon, people say that all you need to do is focus on playing soccer. And George Floyd was taught that football is probably not the way scholars escape poverty. However, he was left with a body. If not on the football field, it was considered intimidating and threatening, and ultimately one of the threats to police officers.

Your book is not shy about Floyd’s failure. He was arrested on suspicion of drugs. He was addicted to opioids. He pleaed an armed robber who spent years in prison. And his friends and family seem to be talking to you quite openly about his criminal record. What did they say about the fight against his law?

Orornipa: They wanted us to understand that Floyd wasn’t the one who wanted to take advantage of others, but he was also attacked by drugs and police officers often used fruit. He was also from a community that aimed to be arrested. Floyd was once literally arrested for trespassing just by passing through his neighborhood. He was across the house. And he was suspended more than 20 times in his life, including six police officers who were later charged with violating the law. So there is a sense of police corruption that has happened.

Well, Floyd’s own mistake was definitely obvious. And we access his diary and his writings, and he suffers from his mistakes and the decisions he made and the struggle he had to get out of addiction and out of his criminal record. I did.

The Demonstrator will be on alert in honor of George Floyd on March 8, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia.

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The Demonstrator will be on alert in honor of George Floyd on March 8, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Well, the way he tried to reset his life was to move from Texas to Minnesota in 2017. There he spent most of his life. And he signed up for a rehabilitation program designed for black men. He found a roommate. He was able to rent this luxurious town home in the middle of the white suburbs of the middle class. For a while, things seem to be looking for him in Minneapolis, right?

Samuels: yes. This was his dream. He found his job. He was beautiful. He got this new town home with his roommate he met during rehab. And a few months after leaving rehab and living in this town home, he returned home after a two-shift job and encountered the unconsciousness of his roommate and the cold on the couch. BigE. And it turned out that BigE was overdose.

And he died. And when that happened, the crowded and friendly George Floyd, who everyone knew, was isolated. And when one of his friends happens to come across him at a gas station, he tells his friend what dark place he was. And it set George Floyd on a relapse course.

Reading your book, I really realized that George Floyd was a special person. But I also wondered if he was unique or if he wrote this kind of book about many other black men.

Samuels: I think we all know someone like George Floyd who loves to be around you. It may be a little unfortunate, but life isn’t completely advanced, but they continue to have a spirit of tenacity. But one thing I want people to understand when reading a book is that the institutional difficulties and barriers presented to George Floyd could have happened to almost every black man living in the United States. It means that there is. And that’s one of the scariest things about it.

Toluse and I were very conscientious about how easy it is to abuse black pain, as if it were a complete story. But one of the great things about writing about George Floyd is George Floyd himself. He did not stop trying, admitting those barriers and admitting mistakes, but remained tenacious. And I think that’s why so many people who know him have taken up the cause of justice.

Many know how George Floyd died. A new biography reveals how he lived: NPR

Source link Many know how George Floyd died. A new biography reveals how he lived: NPR

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