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 singular 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 a series of protests in the United States and around the world, awakening millions to the dire need for reimagining this country’s broken systems 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.
 
This biography of George Floyd shows the athletic young boy raised in the projects of Houston’s Third Ward who would become a father, a partner, a friend, and a man constantly in search of a better life. In retracing Floyd’s story, Washington Post reporters Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa bring to light the determination Floyd carried as he faced the relentless struggle to survive as a Black man in America. Placing his narrative within the larger context of America’s deeply troubled history of institutional racism, His Name Is George Floyd examines the Floyd family’s roots in slavery and sharecropping, the segregation of his Houston schools, the overpolicing of his communities, the devastating snares of the prison system, and his attempts to break free from drug dependence—putting today's inequality into uniquely human terms. Drawing upon hundreds of interviews and extensive original reporting, Samuels and 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.
“In painstaking detail and textured storytelling, Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa reveal how George Floyd fought to live his entire life. 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
 
“This book is a wondrous feat of vivid writing and deep reporting, from the way it leads the reader through George Floyd's final fateful day on earth to its masterly account of Floyd’s hopes and frustrations in the larger context of race in America.”
—David Maraniss, Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter and author of Barack Obama: The Story
 
“In the years that have passed since his dying declaration—I can't breathe—we have come to know George Floyd as a symbol but have known little of George Floyd the man. In a monumental work of reporting and storytelling, Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa reveal who George Floyd was in life, and the extent to which his death was the result not just of the callous choices of a single police officer but of four hundred years of societal decisions to devalue Black life. Amid a raging pandemic and urgent questions about our democracy, there has been little time to mourn George Floyd. The pages of this book provide us all with that that long-overdue opportunity.” 
—Wesley Lowery, Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter and author of They Can't Kill Us All: The Story of the Struggle for Black Lives
 
His Name Is George Floyd is a sobering, deeply intimate account of George Floyd’s life and all that he had to carry and contend with as a Black man coming of age in America. In a remarkable feat of reporting, Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa help us come to know Floyd as a full, rich, complicated human being, whose murder and whose journey in life forces us to reckon with the unquestionable truth that race still very much matters in this country. Thank you Samuels and Olorunnipa for taking us behind the headlines.”
—Alex Kotlowitz, author of There Are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in the Other America