Dayton Literary Peace Prize-winning authors Robert Samuels & Toluse Olorunnipa in conversation with the AJC's Ernie Suggs - His Name Is George Floyd

Dayton Literary Peace Prize-winning authors Robert Samuels & Toluse Olorunnipa in conversation with the AJC's Ernie Suggs - His Name Is George Floyd

Thursday, Mar 07, 2024 7:00 PM

The Carter Center
453 John Lewis Freedom Parkway NE
Atlanta, Georgia 30307

A landmark biography by two prize-winning 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.

A Cappella Books and The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library are honored to welcome the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation, along with the 2023 Dayton Literary Peace Prize winners in nonfiction Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa, to The Carter Center to discuss their groundbreaking book, "His Name Is George Floyd: One Man's Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice." The authors will appear in conversation with Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Ernie Suggs.

This event is free and open to the public. Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the venue. Masks are optional.

Presented in association with the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Atlanta Press Club and The James Weldon Johnson Institute at Emory University.

About the Book

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.

About the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation

The Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation, inaugurated in 2006, is the first and only annual U.S. literary award recognizing the power of the written word to promote peace. The Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation invites nominations in adult fiction and nonfiction books published within the past year that have led readers to a better understanding of other people, cultures,, religions, and political points of view.

About the Authors

Robert Samuels is an award-winning national enterprise reporter at The Washington Post who focuses on stories about politics, policy, and the changing American identity. He has reported from 41 states and three countries. He has previously worked as a staff writer The Miami Herald and the New Yorker.

Toluse "Tolu" Olorunnipa is the White House Bureau Chief of The Washington Post. He joined The Post in 2019 and has covered the last three presidents. Before that, he worked at Bloomberg News and the Miami Herald, where he reported on politics and policy from Washington and Florida.

About the Conversation Partner

Ernie Suggs has been a reporter at the AJC since 1997, currently covering race and culture, as well as a variety of breaking national news and investigative stories. A veteran of nearly 30 years as a newspaper reporter, he previously reported for newspapers in New York City and Durham, covering stories ranging from politics to civil rights to higher education. Since 2016, he has managed the AJC's award-winning Black History Month project through AJC Sepia, the paper's Black news curation site. A 1990 graduate of North Carolina Central University, with a degree in English Literature, Suggs was also a 2009 Harvard University Nieman Fellow. He is currently on the Nieman Foundation's Board of Trustees and the former national vice president of the National Association of Black Journalists. Born in Brooklyn and raised in Rocky Mount, N.C., his obsession for Prince, Spike Lee movies, Hamilton and the New York Yankees is unmatched.