The death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, and the ensuing trial of Derek Chauvin for murder a year later has rubbed raw the bloodiest stain on the United States’ history and its world reputation. The nine minutes and 29 seconds during which Chauvin’s knee crushed the spark of life out of Floyd was not unusual in the history of the United States. Before the U.S. Civil War, slaves were routinely beaten to death for disobeying orders or running away, then often lynched. In roughly two centuries, Blacks have achieved nominal freedom. But, as this book’s opening chapter and expert essays that follow indicate, freedom has been conditional based on inequity of wealth, social, and legal discrimination. None of this is new in the United States; what is new is the number of people rising up in protest, a figure in the millions around the world after Floyd’s murder.
This book supplies a readable, scholarly account of recent issues in race and racism in the United States that will be useful for general readers, undergraduate students, and their professors. It will be useful in many fields, including Black studies, other ethnic pursuits, United States history, law, criminal justice, intercultural communication, et al. The work contains a powerful historical narrative followed by several important, essays on subjects including George Floyd’s murder, the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement and many other victims of systematic racism.