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“It is a testament to the power of His Name Is George Floyd that the book’s most vital moments come not after Floyd’s death, but in its intimate,
unvarnished and scrupulous account of his life . . . Impressive.”
-The New York Times Book Review

His Name Is George Floyd

One Man's Life and The Struggle For Racial Justice

by Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa

A landmark biography by two prizewinning Washington Post reporters that reveals how systemic racism shaped George Floyd's life and legacy—from his family’s roots in the tobacco fields of North Carolina, to ongoing inequality in housing, education, health care, criminal justice, and policing—telling the story of how one man’s tragic experience brought about a global movement for change.

The events of that day are now tragically familiar: on May 25, 2020, George Floyd became the latest Black person to die at the hands of the police, murdered outside of a Minneapolis convenience store by white officer Derek Chauvin. The video recording of his death set off the largest protest movement in the history of the United States, awakening millions to the pervasiveness of racial injustice. But long before his face was painted onto countless murals and his name became synonymous with civil rights, Floyd was a father, partner, athlete, and friend who constantly strove for a better life.
His Name Is George Floyd tells the story of a beloved figure from Houston's housing projects as he faced the stifling systemic pressures that come with being a Black man in America. Placing his narrative within the context of the country's enduring legacy of institutional racism, this deeply reported account examines Floyd's family roots in slavery and sharecropping, the segregation of his schools, the overpolicing of his community amid a wave of mass incarceration, and the callous disregard toward his struggle with addiction—putting today's inequality into uniquely human terms. Drawing upon hundreds of interviews with Floyd's closest friends and family, his elementary school teachers and varsity coaches, civil rights icons, and those in the highest seats of political power, Washington Post reporters Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa offer a poignant and moving exploration of George Floyd’s America, revealing how a man who simply wanted to breathe ended up touching the world.

“Since we know George Floyd’s death with tragic clarity,
we must know Floyd’s America—and life—with tragic clarity. 
His Name Is George Floyd is essential for our times.”
Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to Be an Antiracist

“A much-needed portrait of the life, times, and martyrdom of George Floyd, a chronicle of the racial awakening sparked by his brutal and untimely death, and an essential work of history I hope everyone will read.”
-Henry Louis Gates Jr., author of The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song

“[T]he definitive work on who Floyd was and what his murder triggered. Gripping, heartbreaking, revelatory.”

- Oprah Daily

“[A]n expertly researched and excellent biography, a necessary and enlightening read for all.”

-The Atlantic

“Masterful, thorough and even-handed.” 

-Associated Press

“Detailed, vivid and moving.”

-The Washington Post

About the Authors

Photo of Roberto Samuels

Photo: © Marvin Joseph

Robert Samuels

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.

Toluse Olorunnipa

Photo: © Bloomberg LP

Toluse Olorunnipa

Toluse Olorunnipa is a political enterprise and investigations reporter for The Washington Post. He joined the Post in 2019 and previously covered the White House. Before that, he spent five years at Bloomberg, where he reported on politics and policy from Washington and Florida.

Tour Events

May 17 2022 (Tue)
Washington Post Live with Michele Norris
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May 19 2022 (Thu)
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May 20 2022 (Fri)
Washington, D.C.
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7:00 PM EST
May 24 2022 (Tue)
Philadelphia, PA
Hosted by Free Library of Philadelphia with Ben Jealous
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