Racism In America – The New Yorker Magazine’s Kadir Nelson’s “Say Their Names”

This (The New Yorker) magazine cover dated June 22, 2020 will depict how the murder of George Floyd embodies the history of violence inflicted upon black people in America.

Many of Americas’ non-black community may ask “What is all this protesting about”? The history of treatment of American black citizens is full of hate and injustice. Many times, the treatment was virtually subhuman in nature. Enough is Enough! Something needs to change, and that change has a better chance right now than any other time in this nations’ history. Below is just a few of the incidences that led to the latest demonstrations and protest marches after the murder caught on video of George Floyd.

  • George Floyd – Floyd, forty-six, was killed by a Minneapolis police officer on May 25, 2020, after the officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. The officer, who was fired, has been charged with second-degree murder.
  • Ahmaud Arbery – On February 23, 2020, Arbery, twenty-five, was chased and fatally shot by two white men in his South Georgia neighborhood. The men have been charged with murder and aggravated assault.
  • Tony McDade – McDade, thirty-eight, was fatally shot by a member of the Tallahassee Police Department on May 27, 2020. The officer has been placed on leave pending the outcome of an investigation.
  • Trayvon Martin – Martin, seventeen, was fatally shot on February 26, 2012, in Sanford, Florida, by a neighborhood watchman. The watchman was acquitted of all charges.
  • Laquan McDonald – McDonald, seventeen, was fatally shot on October 20, 2014, by a Chicago police officer. The officer was found guilty of second-degree murder and aggravated battery.
  • Freddie Gray – Gray, twenty-five, died on April 19, 2015, a week after suffering a severe spinal injury in a police van. The six Baltimore Police Department officers involved in his arrest were suspended and charged, but none were convicted.
  • Eric Garner – Garner, forty-three, was killed on July 17, 2014, after a New York City Police Department officer placed him in a choke hold. The officer was fired from the department in 2019.
  • Aiyana Stanley-Jones – Stanley-Jones, a seven-year-old, was shot and killed, in her home, in a raid by the Detroit Police Department, on May 16, 2010. Following two mistrials, charges against the officer who killed her were dismissed.
  • Botham Jean – Jean, twenty-six, was fatally shot in his apartment by an off-duty officer of the Dallas Police Department, on September 6, 2018. The officer was found guilty of murder.
  • Michael Brown – Brown, eighteen, was fatally shot by a police officer, in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 9, 2014. The officer was not indicted.
  • Sandra Bland – Bland, twenty-eight, died in jail on July 13, 2015, three days after being arrested during a traffic stop in Prairie View, Texas. The Texas state trooper who arrested her was fired.
  • Yvette Smith – Smith, forty-seven, was fatally shot by a sheriff’s deputy, in Bastrop County, Texas, on February 16, 2014. The officer who killed her was charged with murder and acquitted.
  • Alton Sterling – Sterling, thirty-seven, was fatally shot on July 5, 2016, by an officer in the Baton Rouge Police Department. The Justice Department and the state declined to bring charges.
  • David McAtee – On June 1st, McAtee, fifty-three, was shot and killed by Kentucky National Guard officers during protests, in Louisville, over the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Police officers at the scene had not turned on their body cameras. The police chief was fired.
  • Walter Scott – Scott, fifty, was shot and killed by a North Charleston police officer on April 4, 2015, after being stopped for a nonfunctioning brake light. In 2017, the officer was sentenced to twenty years in prison.
  • Breonna Taylor – Taylor, twenty-six, was fatally shot, in her home, on March 13, 2020, by Louisville police officers. The officers have been placed on leave during an investigation.
  • Tamir Rice – Rice, a twelve-year-old, was killed on November 22, 2014, by a Cleveland police officer. A grand jury decided not to indict, and the officer was later fired for an administrative offense.
  • Philando Castile – Castile, thirty-two, was fatally shot during a traffic stop on July 6, 2016, by a police officer from St. Anthony, Minnesota. The officer was acquitted of all charges.
  • Stephon Clark – Clark, twenty-two, was shot and killed in the back yard of his grandmother’s house on March 18, 2018, by two officers of the Sacramento Police Department. Neither of the officers was charged.
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. – King was assassinated, at thirty-nine, on April 4, 1968. The man convicted of his killing was sentenced to ninety-nine years in prison.
  • Medgar Evers – Evers, thirty-seven, was assassinated on June 12, 1963, by a member of the Ku Klux Klan. His killer was convicted in 1994.
  • Malcolm X – Malcolm X was assassinated, at thirty-nine, on February 21, 1965. Three members of the Nation of Islam were convicted of his murder.
  • March from Selma – On February 26, 1965, the twenty-six-year-old civil-rights activist Jimmie Lee Jackson died after being shot by a state trooper following a peaceful march in Marion, Alabama. The next week, hundreds marched from Selma to Montgomery; on Sunday, March 7th, dozens of them were injured in attacks by state troopers. That August, the Voting Rights Act was passed.
  • Rosa Parks – On December 1, 1955, Parks refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama. She was arrested. Less than a year later, the Supreme Court ruled that bus segregation was unconstitutional. Parks died on October 24, 2005, at ninety-two, of natural causes.
  • Emmett Till – Till, fourteen, was lynched on August 28, 1955, by two men in Money, Mississippi. His killers were found not guilty.
  • Rodney King – On March 3, 1991, the twenty-five-year-old King was violently beaten by four Los Angeles police officers. None of the officers were convicted in California; two were convicted on federal civil-rights charges.
  • Tulsa Race Massacre – Between May 31 and June 1, 1921, white mobs in Tulsa, Oklahoma, attacked black residents in the Greenwood district, then one of the wealthiest black communities in the United States. Hundreds were hospitalized and killed, and more than a thousand homes and businesses were burned or destroyed. In 2000, a commission formed by the state of Oklahoma suggested that thirty-three million dollars in restitution be paid to the survivors and descendants of victims. No such legislation was passed.
  • The Unnamed – Most of the millions of black people enslaved in America were given names by their owners. To this day, many are nameless. Their graves lie across the country, often unmarked; some scholars have found them by looking for periwinkle, a common burial plant in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
  • Gordon – In March 1863, a man known as Gordon, who had been enslaved on a Louisiana plantation, escaped to a Union camp near Baton Rouge. At the camp, photographers took pictures of his back, which had been brutally whipped. The images would be reproduced and circulated around the nation, further fueling the abolitionist movement.

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