Post Reports: The Life of George Floyd

The Washington Post

George Floyd’s death made global headlines. The world witnessed his last gasps for breath as a police officer kneeled on his neck for minutes on end. The moment, caught on tape by a young bystander (re)ignited a movement. And while much of the news reports rightly zeroed in on those 8 minutes and 46 seconds, The Washington Post devoted an entire special podcast episode to answering a simple but genuinely enlightening question: “What about his life?” What would easily have been, in itself, an extensively reported, straightforward biography is also, in turn, an examination of the way Floyd’s life— and that of his family, stretching back generations—tells the story of many Black men like him. Keenly laying out how systemic racism operates across many institutions—creating sharply disparate outcomes in housing, education, the economy, law enforcement and health care—the Post Reports sketches a moving portrait of a man and of a nation. For telling the quintessentially American tragedy behind a Black man who has become a symbol for a movement and telling an intimate biography that feels all the more archetypal for its familiar trappings, “The Life of George Floyd” earns a Peabody Award.