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On May 25, 2020, the world was indelibly changed by the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Floyd’s death set off a series of protests in the United States and around the world, awakening millions to the dire need for reimagining this country’s broken system of policing. But behind a face that would be graffitied onto countless murals, and a name that has become synonymous with civil rights, there is the reality of one man’s stolen life: a life beset by suffocating systemic pressures that ultimately proved inescapable.
Placing George Floyd’s narrative within the larger context of America’s enduring legacy of institutional racism, His Name is George Floyd: One Man’s Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice is a landmark biography by prizewinning Washington Post reporters Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa. Drawing on over 400 interviews, including with friends and family who knew him best and those who were with him when he died, the book offers a poignant, empathetically reported, and moving exploration of George Floyd’s America.
Robert Samuels joins us at Town Hall to discuss how systemic racism shaped Floyd’s life and legacy — from his family’s history in the tobacco fields of North Carolina, to ongoing inequality in housing, education, health care, criminal justice, and policing — telling the singular story of how one man’s tragic experience brought about a global movement for change.
Robert Samuels is a national political enterprise reporter for The Washington Post who focuses on the intersection of politics, policy, and people. He previously wrote stories about life in the District for the Post’s social issues team. Samuels joined the Post in 2011 after spending nearly five years working at the Miami Herald.
Presented by Town Hall Seattle.