The Black Plight Series

Part III
Who Was George Floyd?

Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd are the latest examples of the black plight in the United States. All were unjustly killed at the hands of white men or police officers, and Americans everywhere have fiercely reacted, via social media and in the streets of cities across the nation. 

In the Black Plight Series, we will examine the lives and deaths of Arbery, Taylor and Floyd, the legal response to their killers, and how their demises have impacted the nation as a whole. 

In Part III, we will take a look at Floyd’s life through the eyes of his family and friends.

It’s been exactly two weeks since George Floyd died in police custody on May 25 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

On June 8, the same public that watched his death in the streets paid their final respects to Floyd at a public viewing ceremony in Houston, the city where he was raised before moving to Minnesota in 2014.

Floyd grew up in Houston’s Third Ward, where he played both football and basketball at Jack Yates High School before attending South Florida State College, where he also played hoops.

His college coach was named George Walker, and his wife Gloria described Floyd by saying “He was never one that tried to blame others for his own mistakes … He always owned up to them and always tried to do better.”

Artwork of George Floyd's Face painted on a wall

Floyd’s relationship with former NBA player and fellow Houston native Stephen Jackson came to light shortly after his death.

Jackson referred to Floyd as his “twin” and in an Instagram post on May 26, the day after Floyd’s death, Jackson said that his friend moved to Minnesota to “work and drive trucks” because “He knew he had to relocate to be his best self.”

In an interview with CNN, Jackson said that he and Floyd had been friends for over two decades.

Jackson also revealed that Floyd had two daughters, one of whom is 6 years old, and we also learned that Floyd had a 3-year old granddaughter that he never met before he died.

In total, he had five children, and at the time of his death, the 6’4″ Floyd worked as a security guard and truck driver.

“The last time I talked to him was about a year ago and every conversation we had in that year was about bettering ourselves and being better fathers,” Jackson told CNN about Floyd. “That’s all he talked about.”

Just this past week, Jackson took to the streets to protest Floyd’s death with his friend’s daughter on his shoulders.

Gigi can be heard in the video saying, “Daddy changed the world.”

The hope of the black community is that Gigi is correct – hopefully, the death of her father will not be in vain and it will have changed the world moving forward. 

However, an uphill battle remains moving forward, considering the killers Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd have been arrested and charged, but are not close to being sentenced, and Breonna Taylor’s killers have yet to be taken into custody. 

In Part IV of The Black Plight Series, we will examine the circumstances of Arbery, Taylor and Floyd’s deaths, and we will examine where their killers are today.