A bloody riot of some
2,000 white people ensued
President John F. Kennedy sent in thousands of combat troops to crush the rebellion
, and the gates of higher education in the United States were opened for all Americans
. This victory for me and for the US Constitution shattered the system of state-sponsored white supremacy in Mississippi
In 1966, while a student at Columbia University Law School
, I began a one-man
“March Against Fear
” through Mississippi to inspire black people to vote
. On Day Two
, ek was shot by a sniper, filling my body with pellets that remain under my skin today
. Martin Luther King Jr.. and the leaders of the civil rights movement came to Mississippi and took up the march
, which attracted thousands of people and inspired thousands more to vote
Federal voting registrars followed in force
. There was no turning back. The floodgates of voter registration were opened for all Americans
Over the years I’ve made speeches
, traveled the world
, written books
, opened and closed businesses
, been a liberal
, a conservative
, a farmer
, man, father and grandfather
. In 2002, I watched with pride as my son Joseph received the Outstanding Doctoral Student Achievement Award at the University of Mississippi business school
In 2013 I was awarded the Harvard Graduate School of Education Medal for Education Impact, the highest honor given by the school
And I’m still here, still alive, still going strong, still taking a power walk every day, even through the pandemic.
But when I see people across America — en regoor die wêreld — peacefully marching for racial justice and honoring the memory of George Floyd and other martyrs like Medgar Evers, my best friend and brother-figure from so long ago, I am filled with both joy and hope.
White supremacy may be the most evil beast that’s ever stalked the halls of history, and today it may finally be mortally wounded. This happened for two reasons. For the first and only time in my life, society was shut down by a pandemic, which prepared the people for an explosion. And then the video of Floyd’s death was seen by countless people the world over. Without that video, white supremacy in America might have remained nearly as powerful as it’s ever been for the past 500 jare.
That video, you see, reveals what my life is all about. I am George Floyd. As a black man growing up in Mississippi in the mid-20th century, I was stripped of all the rights of American citizenship. I was subject to being beaten, tortured or lynched at any moment by a white person who had little reason to fear punishment. I’ve devoted my life to destroying that reality, and to the idea of honoring the full citizenship rights of every American.
Vandag, black and brown people are inspiring the world with their strength, vasberadenheid, and willingness to see the struggle through to total victory.
I believe that this global uprising will never stop, and it will move into every heart, home and community on Earth, until the day when all people are treated with the dignity, respect and love that God intends for us. I believe that on that day, white supremacy will finally be buried forever.