Haunted America: The ghost of George Floyd and the ghost of the Confederacy
This wave of protests against injustice could lead to american renewal. but the ghosts won't let go easily, by chauncey devega.
America is haunted . There are many old ghosts and other spirits trapped along the color line both in this country and around the world. Most of these spirits and ghosts have never been exorcised. Some are poltergeists and demons, ready to be summoned up by the wizards and warlocks of racism and white supremacy, including President Donald Trump and his minions.
In that sense, "Make America Great Again!" is an incantation that channels the worst parts of America's past and present to hurt Black and brown people.
But those people are not passive in their suffering. They resist and fight back. That has been true for centuries. It will continue to be so far into the future.
In her new essay for the Atlantic, author and professor Imani Perry reflects on that strength:
A lot of kind statements about black people are coming from the pens and minds of white people now. That's a good thing. But sometimes, it is frankly hard to tell the difference between expressions of solidarity and gestures of absolution. (See, I'm not a racist, I said you matter!) Among the most difficult to swallow are social-media posts and notes that I and others have received expressing sorrow and implying that blackness is the most terrible of fates. Their worrisome chorus: "I cannot imagine … How do you … My heart breaks for you … I know you are hurting … You may not think you matter but you matter to me." Let me be clear: I certainly know I matter. Racism is terrible. Blackness is not. I cannot remember a time in my life when I wasn't earnestly happy about the fact of my blackness…. So many people taught us to be more than the hatred heaped upon us, to cultivate a deep self-regard no matter what others may think, say, or do. Many of us have absorbed that lesson and revel in it.
Several weeks ago, White America's wicked tradition of lynchings and other racialized violence against Black people was summoned up in Minneapolis. In that moment a white cop put his knee on the throat of an unarmed Black man named George Floyd and posed like a big game hunter on safari in Africa while crushing out Floyd's life.
Floyd pleaded for his mother, begging "I can't breathe."
That moment when history came crashing down on George Floyd – literally – was as if the 19th- and 20th-century tradition of lynching photography was updated for the age of digital media and the Internet.
New research by the Economic Policy Institute connects the murder of George Floyd to a much older history of extrajudicial murder by the country's "law enforcement" agents and other white enforcers of the color line:
The agonizing similarity in the death of Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, is that current and former police officers participated in their lynching. From 1877 to 1950, nearly 4,000 individuals were the victims of lynchings. Some have speculated that as many as 75% of historical lynchings " were perpetrated with the direct or indirect assistance of law enforcement personnel ." Despite drawing attention from large crowds, many perpetrators of historical lynchings were never charged with a crime — a fact seen in many modern-day officer-involved shootings.
These racist acts, in most cases more than a century ago, "can be linked to officer-involved shootings today," the report continues. In comparing " historical lynchings and present-day officer-involved shootings ," the researchers concluded that
historical lynchings are positively associated with officer-involved shootings for Blacks. That is, counties that experienced a higher number of historical lynchings have larger shares of officer-involved shootings of Blacks in the last five years.
There are other examples of how America's old demons of racism and white supremacy still haunt our society today.
Political scientists have shown that Southern counties which had a Ku Klux Klan chapter in the 1960s were more likely to abandon the Democratic Party and become Republican . This shift in party allegiance came in large part in response to the Democratic Party's support of the civil rights movement.
Dylan Matthews at Vox highlights the details: The presence of a Klan chapter "was associated with a 2 percent bigger increase in Republican support from 1960 to 1972, a 3.7 percent bigger increase from 1960 to 1980, a 4.9 percent bigger increase from 1960 to 1992, and a 3.4 percent bigger increase from 1960 to 2000."
A 2016 article in the Journal of Politics shows that white Southerners who live in counties where the enslavement of Black people was prevalent are now more likely to be conservative, vote Republican and possess hostile attitudes towards Black people, compared to white people who live in counties where slavery was not as common.
A 2016 YouGov/Economist public opinion poll suggested that 20 percent of Trump supporters believe that Black people should still be slaves.
In a recent interview on Fox News, Donald Trump said, "So I think I've done more for the Black community than any other president, and let's take a pass on Abraham Lincoln because he did good, although it's always questionable — you know, in other words, the end result."
Given Trump's repeated embrace of the treasonous Confederacy, his administration's repeated fawning over Nazis, the Klan and other white supremacist terrorists (his "very fine people"), it would seem that our president believes that Lincoln's decision to end slavery in the South during the Civil War was incorrect.
To quote William Faulkner: "The past is never dead. It's not even past."
In that spirit these weeks of protest and people's uprisings against police brutality and social injustice sparked by the murder of George Floyd are a struggle over American identity and public memory. In the tumult of a country in spasm, the Confederate flag and other symbols of white-on-black chattel slavery are a battleground.
Across the South and elsewhere the Confederate flag has been ripped from flagpoles and burned. More than a dozen statues to slavers and white traitors , such as Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, have been vandalized, torn down by the people's hands or removed by local governments.
The headquarters of the United Daughters of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia — the onetime Confederate capital city — was set on fire .
In the "heritage not hate" street theater of 21st-century Lost Cause ideology , small groups of pathetic white men (and some women) have taken up arms to "protect" Confederate monuments, most of which were constructed decades after the end of the Civil War, in the 1920s and 1930s.
Once and again, the psychological wages of whiteness are poison. They damage the minds and hearts of all who imbibe or otherwise consume it.
I emailed my friend Joe R. Lansdale , a Texan, an acclaimed fiction writer and the author of the Hap and Leonard series of novels and stories , for his thoughts about these ongoing debates about the Lost Cause and the Confederacy. I needed his help in making sense of the mysterious ways of white folks who defiantly cling to the ignoble history of the Confederacy.
Joe wrote this:
The Dixie flag when I was growing up had moved from being a symbol of the Confederacy to a symbol of the South. That flag wasn't just about the good old South, summer breezes, grits and gravy. To a large segment of the Southern population it was a sign of subjugation and inhumane treatment, and they were damn right to feel that way. At some point, my thinking underwent a seismic shift; the earth was no longer solid under my shoes. Why was the Klan always carrying it so frequently along with Nazi symbols? It was there to recognize the defeated South and honor it as a lost and noble cause. That flag was so institutionalized in our minds many of us could jeer at the Klan and plead for civil rights and fail to be bothered by its presence in the courthouse. It was a slap to the face of black people, and once this realization came to me, it was a slap in my ignorant white face as well. Though the Union was preserved, in the end the South sort of won. They continued slavery disguised as Jim Crow, where black people lacked rights, were paid crap wages for horrible jobs, not allowed to be properly educated, and voting was frequently denied. They weren't even able to go into a restaurant, use the same restrooms, drink from the same water fountains, and by violating these Southern rules, they were often tortured and murdered. The Confederate flag has got to go and should have found its place into museums long ago, and with annotation as to what vileness it had stood for during the Civil War, and after. The monuments to traitors have to go as well. Remembering history, and the people who made that history is fine, but honoring people who supported the subjection of one race over another is no different than the Nazis who put people in gas chambers and worked them to death. Knowing history is supposed to be a good thing. It shouldn't be forgotten, good or bad. It's supposed to keep us from repeating the faults of the past, but sometimes I wonder. Take them down.
The United States has had three foundings. The Declaration of Independence and the signing of the Constitution are one founding. The end of slavery and Reconstruction are a second. The victories of the long Black Freedom Struggle and the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s are America's third founding.
Donald Trump's election was a high point in the counterrevolution against this progress towards multiracial democracy.
The George Floyd protests and the people's uprising against the Age of Trump and the forces which birthed his neofascist movement — if they are successful — could appear, from the future, as America's fourth founding.
What will this new and better America look like?
How hard will Trump and his followers and allies fight? What will they do to channel America's demons and poltergeists in order to hold on to power at any cost , and by any means available?
We will begin to know the answers soon as we draw closer to Election Day in November, when the American people will make a crucial choice about whether they want to live in a demon-haunted country.
Chauncey DeVega is a senior politics writer for Salon. His essays can also be found at Chaunceydevega.com . He also hosts a weekly podcast, The Chauncey DeVega Show . Chauncey can be followed on Twitter and Facebook .
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Home » Politics » Guest Commentary: George Floyd’s Ghost Is In Your Mirror
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by Seth Berger
To this story in CitizenCast
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Guest Commentary: George Floyd’s Ghost Is In Your Mirror
A white suburban father of three young black men on whom is really responsible for the injustice of our criminal justice system.
BY Seth Berger
May. 30, 2020
I am not a leftist who thinks that police violence should be in the same conversation as free college. I don’t equate opposition to universal health care with bigotry and I don’t condemn our tax code as racist. This is not about left or right, Republican or Democrat.
This is about America’s soul. And your mind.
“I can put you in chains and drop you to the ocean to die an unimaginable death without fear of punishment, because you are subhuman chattel.”
My white friend of 25 years dropped some PPE masks off at my house today. He asked, “How you doing?”
“Bad,” I said.
“How does that impact you?” he asked.
He is supposed to be one of the good guys. He played college basketball. We worked together at a company with a diverse workforce for almost 10 years. Yet he did not connect George Floyd to my sons, to me, to himself.
He can’t. It is too painful. As soon as he does, he knows that he bears responsibility for the fact police violence is the 6th leading cause of death of young American Black men.
“I can hunt you down like a wild animal on a Georgia road in broad daylight and kill you with a shotgun without fear of punishment, because your death is celebrated behind the closed doors of our local law enforcement.”
The Constitution is not America’s soul; it is America’s mind. Racism is America’s soul. Your soul controls your mind. Racism has controlled America’s mind for 350 years.
1 in 1,000. That is the chance I have as a man in my 50s to die of Covid-19. That statistically (in)significant chance has forced governments to confine people all over the world to their homes to avoid this insidious killer.
1 in 1,000. That is the chance that an American black man will die from police violence . Do not read the next sentence. Pause. Ponder the significance of the equality of these two numbers.
A once-in-a-century pandemic and law officers present the same threat of death to American black men.
I have never been a police officer. I am grateful for almost every cop that puts his or her life on the line to serve and protect. I pay for their check outs at the Wawa, when they let me. In no way am I minimizing the difficulty of their decisions in life or death situations.
Unwarranted police violence will always happen. People are imperfect. This will not be eradicated. There will be more needless funerals because cops will make mistakes.
If you voted for Trump, you are directly responsible for our nation’s return to overt White Supremacy. You are responsible for George Floyd’s murder.
But American Black men are 2.5 times more likely to die from police violence than white men. Are they 2.5 times as evil? Are they 2.5 times as dangerous? Or, do the police view the white lives as 2.5 times more valuable than a black life, and are they 2.5 times more likely to use deadly force because they value a black life less?
Of course they do. Look in the mirror. Face it. So. Do. You. White lives matter, blue lives matter, black lives matter—but a lot less. How else can you explain how you have allowed this to continue? Yes. You. What have you done to stop this?
“There are layers of bureaucracy.”
My favorite: “We have to get rid of institutional racism.”
Institutional racism is just a shield created by white people in charge to avoid making “hard” choices in “complicated” situations. It will end when the institutions are no longer run by racists. Vote them out, kick them out, push them out, cheat them out. Get them out, whatever it takes. Now.
“The arc of history bends towards justice,” a hopeful friend of mine said today, when we were discussing all of this.
“The annals of history are dominated by the powerful,” I replied.
Peaceful protest does not work for the disenfranchised. It allows communities to express their frustration, but it does not bring meaningful change. In fact, it usually ends with more death and destruction to their own people and communities. It is a complete waste of time.
“When the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
Donald Trump encouraged the killing of people who are stealing food, clothes and maybe a TV here and there. These are crimes that now deserve the death penalty, if the perpetrators are black. Just like the slave owners back in the day. Kill any black person you wish who shows any disrespect. If they won’t treat your store with respect, shoot to kill.
If you voted for Trump, you are directly responsible for our nation’s return to overt White Supremacy. You are responsible for George Floyd’s murder. You are responsible for Ahmed Aubrey’s murder. You are responsible for Breona Taylor’s murder. You employed a man as our President who sees black people as subhuman.
White men are in charge in America. The police work for us. We are safe. If you are white, when was the first time you were worried a cop was going to shoot you at a traffic stop on a dark night on an unlit street?
Look in the mirror and justify it however you want—taxes, health care, educational vouchers—whatever. The truth is your own racism put this evil man in the White House.
Come up with any outliers you want as examples of a progressive society to make yourself feel better. Plain and simple, white men are in charge in America. The police work for us. We are safe. If you are white, when was the first time you were worried a cop was going to shoot you at a traffic stop on a dark night on an unlit street?
Did you vote for a man that excuses Nazis as good people? Will you vote for him again? Justify your own indifference however you want. But don’t call me your friend. Better yet, don’t call me at all. You made it more likely that George Floyd was murdered by a cop. I make no apologies for seeing it that way, and I call it as I see it. You are a racist hiding behind the cloak of conservatism.
“I can jam my knee on your neck in broad daylight in the middle of the street in front of onlookers and suffocate you while you beg for your handcuffed life, terrifyingly calling for your mother, because I am white and you are black.”
Think about George Floyd’s final moments. The terror. The fear. The sadness. The powerlessness. The end.
The Minneapolis Police officer who killed George Floyd knew he could kill an American Black Man without fear of punishment, just like countless law enforcement officers before him. Just like his ancestors sent George Floyd’s ancestors to the bottom of the ocean in chains hundreds of years ago.
Our nation and our constitution were created by murderous, slave-owning killers and rapists. This is the truth. We are reliving it every day.
Donald Trump is the American Slave Master of 2020. It is who he is. Vote him out, push him out, kick him out, cheat him out. Before it’s too late.
If you vote for him in 2020 and he is elected a second time, I believe our nation will descend into a wave of violence. I won’t pray for you or your kids.
Oh, and if you did not vote in 2016, and you do not register and vote in 2020, I won’t pray for you or your kids either.
I will be protecting mine.
Register and vote. George Floyd’s ghost is begging you.
Seth Berger is head boys basketball coach at The Westtown School. He was founder/CEO of And1 basketball apparel company. He has a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, and an MBA from Wharton.
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Herbert Gayle | How long will George Floyd’s ghost haunt us?
In my first class in violence studies, my white female professor stated: “There are two philosophical pillars that guide violence experts that make us different from development practitioners. 1. Every perpetrator is also a victim. 2. Saving or changing one perpetrator is cheaper than saving 100 victims.” I was amazed by the logic but disturbed by the immorality of the principle. I raised my hand and made my position clear. I told her that while it was true, it was impractical as humans see the victim first. She pointed out that I had left out philosophy number 1 and proceeded to suggest that people choose who they wish to brand as victims. I then asked: “Prof, how does a group become branded as a victim?” She looked at me as if to say “Seriously!” Then she calmly suggested: “Campaigning, through the use of propaganda, which means making sure your side stays in the public ears.”
Black Lives Matter was formed in 2013 but became an international campaign after the gruesome death of George Floyd. The impact of his death has been profound. Let me illustrate. In 2017, three groups asked me to speak on International Men’s day, and nine asked me to speak on International Women’s Day. In 2018. five groups asked me to speak for the Men’s Day and 13 for the Women’s Day. That year was, however, marked by deep national insult as I was asked to help launch a regional women’s advocate platform on Father’s Day. This caused Jamaican men to come together to block the event. But note the audacity and ease of abuse. No male could think to do any such thing on Mother’s Day – and none would call a female expert to present on such a blasphemous occasion. Last year, another five groups asked me to present for International Men’s Day, and 17 for International Women’s Day. This year, 107 groups from nine countries asked me to present on International Men’s Day. I asked every group why, and their response suggested that they were haunted by George Floyd’s ghost. How long will he haunt us? Is this another nine-day-wonder? If you go to Google and type in ‘International Men’s Day Because’ you will see that people went all out to make this year’s event count. They have actually listed seven disadvantages that men face. This is very new. Is this a sign that men are becoming less invisible in the gender conversation?
HIT AND MISS
As a Generation X person, I have seen a lot of hit and miss. I do not have the luxury of the gracious hope I hear from my Millennial research team. I am also a violence expert who sees the dead bodies and understand how structural violence kills far more than actual physical violence. Hence, I am not as optimistic. I have even met younger colleagues who feel confident that “this is the start of something grand”. In this context, the point of comparison is the success of women’s campaign in the last 50 years. Gender, politics, and religion are among the areas of discussion that carry more sentience (emotion) than science (reality). However, let us try to assess the assertion that George Floyd’s ghost will haunt us to the extent of creating worldwide impact beyond 2022. I use this period because I am trained to know that unsupported campaigns have impact ranging from 18-24 months. Then they die! Beyond that ‘natural impact point’, you must have funding. Why are campaigns important? According to Edwin Ott, knowledge is achieved through repeated exposure to a string of information. Knowledge is not reality! Reality is that which exists independent of your sentience, or emotions, or perception. In other words, we can all hold on to something that is not true. In campaigning, it is not the truth that is important. It is the capacity to push one’s side of reality.
With billions of dollars invested in the women’s movement, there has been massive improvement in the lives of women, especially in Jamaica. In 1970, only 64 women attended university compared to 100 men. Today, there are 228 women in university compared to 100 men. In 1980, one-third of all women first had sex under the age of 16 years. According to the Women’s Health Survey, Jamaica (2016), this dropped to 14 per cent. However, men’s data have remained unchanged. In the 1980s, two-thirds of men first had sex under the age of 16. Today, (2020 Male Fertility Preliminary) data say the same two-thirds; and in 42 per cent of the cases, the female partner could have been arrested. Prior to the Civil Rights Movement, black women were targeted with their black men by the US police. Today, black women’s campaign has paid off. The US police kills 17 males to 1 female – but 26 black men to 1 black woman. Black women are no longer the number-one group of women attacked by the state. In the USA, police account for 1 out of every 100 black males killed. In Jamaica, our police account for 13% of all males killed. To every 105 males killed by our police, 1 female is killed – often by accident. Put simply, poor urban black males in Jamaica are 13 times worse than their counterparts in the USA. Yet we promote SOE and all forms of brutal oppression of the young men under the name of social order.
I have established that campaigns are necessary; that they have worked for women, especially black women; and that young people believe that we are turning a corner. I have also implied that I am preoccupied with helping Jamaica (and other countries) change the reality of young black men. However, I have not emphasised why I am doing this. I hinted earlier that all violence experts (those of us trained) understand that you cannot reduce violence without some degree of focus on the group that is branded the perpetrator. We cannot solve Jamaica’s murder problem by simply herding the young men into slaughter houses. Hence, my preoccupation with helping young men is not because I am a man. I pledged to help reduce violence in the region, and I cannot fulfil that professional promise without making us understand that an angry, neglected, abused male is a potential killer of our own doing. As I declared in Europe 10 years ago – if the Caribbean can provide inner-city boys with 50 per cent of the life chances of inner-city girls, our murder rate would easily drop below the civil war benchmark of 30 per 100,000 – the point where policing begins to make sense.
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Like all my younger and untrained friends, I see George Floyd’s ghost as a beginning. My concern is that black men may not have the resources to sustain any campaign 10 per cent as effective as that of their female counterparts. I ask that you brutally criticise my scepticism. I promise that I will become more hopeful if you can answer the following questions?
1. How are black men comparable to black women when they are only a disadvantaged subset? Men are the wealthiest and most powerful people on Earth. In Jamaica, men dominate the top quintile – but also the bottom. In other words, while women can find common ground of suffering, black men are simply the exception to the rule of power. Currently, the wealthiest men do not support the poorest or weakest ones. To illustrate: only five per cent of inner-city youth have ever been assisted by wealthy men through mentorship or grants or group funding. But 13 per cent of inner-city youth have received help from successful women. This is one of the core reasons why many ‘partnerists’ (I am included here) have tried to promote women to positions of power. Powerful men are simply crueller than powerful women.
2. Can black people unite enough and quickly enough to make George Floyd’s ghost stay beyond 2022? We represent the best ‘divide and conquer’ victims in history. Part of my contention with the feminist movement is that it reminds me of my father’s control of the birds we raised when I was a child. My father would cut off one of the bird’s wings? and let them go in the yard. They would try to fly but end up going round in circles. The first time I saw it, I cried. I was seven years old. They could not escape his brutal control. The North has always controlled the South. During chattel slavery, they used black men to oversee other black men – and in the middle were the house slaves (mostly women). Women also had access to Sunday market and could save money. This remains the arrangement of Jamaica – men at the top and bottom; women in the middle. After Emancipation, the planters ensured that males were not educated to guarantee the plantation cheap labour. This is why Jamaica has 15 all-girl schools and only sven for boys. Since the 1970s, the bulk of development monies have gone to women. There is a non-contextual assumption that all men are the same, and hence we are to support girls while boys remain invisible. This is why I asked a group of women recently, which is easier to have: an MA or a MAN? In the USA, black people could not unite to remove President Trump. A lot of them voted for him. How do we unite them?
3. How do you get black women to see black men as their partners? The North-funded feminist movement has made many black women see black men as permanent perpetrators and the problem. Drawing on the work of seven student groups’ work, we know that Jamaican women are changing rapidly to help their black brothers survive. There is hope in these data: in 2006 only 18 per cent of young women saw men as partners; in 2020 it is 30 per cent. But how do we get the others to join this kind of progressive thinking?
4. Who will fund the black men’s campaign so that this fever goes beyond 2022? Black women benefit from UN women. We cannot have a UNmen – as men run the UN. So shall we expect to have a UN Black men? Wealthy men fund themselves and women – as they do not wish to compete with poorer and weaker men. Women are still in need of support and are preoccupied with their own campaign. Remember that it is difficult to see the plight of others when you are focused on your own. International development partners (IDPs) have told me that they see no male funding coming soon. So where will the money come from?
5. Are we assuming that men and women’s neurobiological advantages and socialisation are the same? Most men are communication-disadvantaged, ego-restricted, and help-seeking retarded. Men do not make it easy for others to help them as they do not seek help. Why should any group go the extra mile to help a group of angry black men who do not even know how to articulate their pain? Where is this extra empathy going to come from? Black men certainly cannot do this on their own – they will need black women – and in return, black men will worship their black women.
In closing, the timing of George Floyd’s ghost is certainly the most powerful tool to unite black people. Nonetheless, with only 30 per cent of their female counterparts recognising them as partner (and not tormentor or ATM), it is going to be a long and painful road to get black men to a state where they do not rely primarily on violence to survive or express their frustration. I firmly believe that only through partnership will we be able to fly over the fence. We have to grow both wings. This will take time and effort. We must do it together – men and women. We must have a course set by us and not by the North. We must try.
Productive International Men’s Day. Again condolences to the family of George Floyd and the millions of other families that have lost their sons to violence in the Americas.
Herbert Gayle is a social anthropologist and lecturer in the Department of Sociology, Psychology and Social Work at The University of the West Indies.
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George Floyd's voice haunted Derek Chauvin murder trial
"Tell my kids I love them" were Floyd's final words.
During the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, jurors heard from 45 witnesses. But legal experts say the voice that may have resonated most in the courtroom every day was one from the grave.
In what legal experts called a rarity for the criminal justice system, George Floyd played a major role in the trial of the man prosecutors allege killed him. Jurors saw and heard Floyd up close, in multiple videos, begging for his life up until his final breath.
They gonna kill me. They gonna kill me, man.
The jury in the high-profile case announced on Tuesday afternoon that it had reached a unanimous verdict finding Chauvin guilty on the charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter.
Dr. Ziv Cohen, a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at Cornell University, said that what ever decision the jury decides, the videos the panel saw of Floyd's final moments were "powerful" evidence for the prosecution.
"That video is the star of this trial. It's the star witness of this trial. It's the biggest piece of evidence in this trial," Cohen told ABC News.
In bystander video taken from just feet away from Floyd and the officers who were on top of him during the May 25, 2020, arrest, and in even closer police body camera videos, jurors heard Floyd not just begging for his life but talking about his deceased mother, children and predicting his own demise.
"They gonna kill me. They gonna kill me, man," Floyd is heard saying in the now-famous video taken by a then-17-year-old high school student, Darnella Frazier.
Frazier's video recording appears to show Chauvin pressing his left knee on the back of Floyd's neck as he cried out 27 times, "I can't breathe," and eventually said, "My neck. I'm through. I'm through."
"My stomach hurt. My neck hurts. Everything hurts," Floyd said in the video, his face pushed against the pavement. "Give me some water or something, please."
As the disturbing footage continues, Floyd refers to Chauvin as "Mr. Officer" and speaks of his family: "Can't believe this, man. Mom, love you. Love you. Tell my kids I love them. I'm dead."
In police body camera footage taken earlier in the episode, the handcuffed man tells the officers he is "claustrophobic" and suffers from "anxiety" as he pleads with them not to put him in the back of a cramped police cruiser.
"Can you put me in the front, please?" he asked, the officers attempting to shove him into the backseat, saying, "I'm not a bad guy, man. I'm not a bad guy."
At one point he even has a conversation with Charles McMillian, 61, a concerned bystander who tried to intervene, asking Floyd to get into the squad car and saying, "You can't win."
"I'm not trying to win," Floyd responded.
When Chauvin and the other officers remove him from the vehicle and start to place him on the ground, Floyd said, "Thank you" and "I'm gonna lie on the ground. I'm going down."
Cohen said that while many murder trials nowadays are bound to feature some form of video, mostly surveillance video with no audio, the Chauvin trial is unique for the abundance of footage, from multiple angles.
"Certainly hearing George Floyd in distress for a very long period of time, kind of seeing him in his agony and in the final moments of his life, is disturbing to your average viewer and to the jury," Cohen said. "You clearly see that George Floyd is having fear, anxiety, he's in pain, his voice is thick, he's struggling. At various points, he cries out. So, I think the challenge here is that you're not seeing a placid victim, or a placid decedent, where you might try to convince yourself that he's not suffering."
He said Chauvin's attorney, Eric Nelson, has been attempting to undo the power of those images with "ideas, facts that might muddy the waters in terms of what would appear to be very clear from the video."
MORE: Police departments across US brace for Derek Chauvin verdict
Brian Buckmire, a New York City public defender and an ABC News legal contributor, said most state courts allow such video, which is considered out-of-court hearsay, to be used at trial under what is called the Dying Declaration Rule.
"We presume that the last words of a person dying are going to be true, because why would you lie if you are about to die?" Buckmire said, explaining the rule. Still, he agreed that such video in a murder trial is "extremely rare."
"When we see video in homicide cases, it's usually grainy video from a distance," Buckmire added. "I don't think I've ever seen this much video of someone's final moments of life in a criminal prosecution."
MORE: Key takeaways from the Derek Chauvin murder trial, Day 15
He said the videos used by prosecutors in the case have also been powerful in humanizing Floyd to the point where it's "almost slightly divine."
"When you hear someone's final words, saying, 'Thank you' to an officer for taking him out of a car, calling their mother, I think that resonates with a lot of people," Buckmire added. "I think you hear that and everyone goes to that point and time if they've lost someone and the final words of that person."
MORE: Derek Chauvin murder trial spotlights America's social ills: Advocates
Not only have the prosecution and defense been allowed to replay the video countless times, but both sides also have been permitted to seize on freeze frames of the footage in arguments over whether Chavin was following his training as a Minneapolis police officer.
Nelson, the defense attorney, even tried countering the prosecution's case by playing for the jury part of a previous arrest of Floyd in May 2019, to illustrate similarities with the fatal 2020 arrest and to show the effects opioids allegedly had on Floyd.
"You're not just hearing it second-hand from someone else," Buckmire said, "which is very rare."
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ABC News Live
24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events
- Main content
George Floyd's life was celebrated one year after his killing sparked a worldwide movement for racial justice
- May 25 marked the one-year anniversary of George Floyd's death after an officer knelt on his neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds.
- The ex-Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, was found guilty on three counts related to his murder.
- Around the world, people paid tribute to Floyd, whose death sparked a global movement for justice.
Floyd's family members spoke outside of the White House after meeting with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
"This is the thing, if you can make federal laws to protect the bird, which is a bald eagle, you can make federal laws to protect people of color," George's brother Philonise Floyd said , urging Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.
George Floyd's family met with members of Congress, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The House previously passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, but the bill has since stalled in the Senate, where Democrats need bipartisan support for the bill to pass.
President Joe Biden said during a joint session of Congress that he wanted to sign the bill into law on the anniversary of Floyd's death, however, as Insider reported, congressional leaders are still hammering out details.
Meanwhile, Black Lives Matter activists told Insider they feel sidelined as lawmakers work on the legislation.
Floyd's daughter Gianna Floyd walks into the White House.
Gianna Floyd, age 7, said in DC on Tuesday that her late father is going to "change the world," echoing what she said nearly one year ago after his death.
In 2020, Floyd's death sparked a global movement for racial justice. Protests were held around the world.
The global impact of Floyd's death was visible on the one-year anniversary.
In Bristol , England, people gathered for moments of silence. A rally was also held in London and in Edinburgh, Scotland.
In Berlin, a rally was held on the anniversary of Floyd's death.
In Greece and Spain, US Embassies displayed Black Lives Matter flags.
In Houston, where Floyd was raised, a tribute was held to honor Floyd.
In Minneapolis, where Floyd was murdered during an arrest, people gathered at George Floyd Square to pay tribute.
Shots were fired near where Floyd was killed. One person was injured.
People still gathered in the square.
They paid tribute to Floyd, taking a knee during a moment of silence.
In New York, local leaders took a knee for more than nine minutes to signify how long Chauvin knelt on Floyd's neck.
Protesters took to the streets in New York.
A rally was also held in Boston.
Black Lives Matter supporters gathered in Downtown Los Angeles to mark the anniversary.
Katherine Walker, the mother of a man, Grechario Mack, who was killed by the Los Angeles Police Department spoke at the rally.
In DC, Philonise Floyd and other family members, along with family attorney Benjamin Crump speak to Roland Martin in Black Lives Matter Plaza.
A woman, Ellie Amani, waited to see the Floyd family in Black Lives Matter Plaza.
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King Leopold’s ghost: George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis sparks wave of protests in Belgium
Workers clean graffiti from a statue of Belgium's King Leopold II in Brussels on June 11, 2020. Leopold is increasingly seen as a stain on the nation where he reigned from 1865 to 1909. The death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis has sparked a re-examination of societies around the globe, especially in Europe. (Francisco Seco/AP)
TERVUREN, Belgium — When it comes to ruthless colonialism and racism, few historical figures are more notorious than Leopold II, the Belgian king who held Congo as his personal property and may have been responsible for the deaths of millions of Congolese more than a century ago.
Yet across Belgium, the monarch's name is still found on streets and tunnels. Cities are dotted with his statues and busts, even as evidence of his misdeeds has piled up over the decades.
Now a reckoning seems to be at hand.
The protests sweeping the world after George Floyd ’s death in the U.S. have added fuel to a movement to confront Europe’s role in the slave trade and its colonial past. Leopold is increasingly seen as a stain on the nation over which he reigned from 1865 to 1909. Demonstrators want him removed from public view.
In just the last week, a long-running trickle of dissent that resulted in little more than occasional vandalism has turned into a torrent, with statues of Leopold defaced in a half-dozen cities. In the port town of Antwerp, where much of the Congolese rubber, minerals and other natural riches entered the nation, one statue was burned and had to be removed for repairs. It is unclear whether it will ever come back.
“When you erect a statue, it lauds the actions of who is represented. The Germans would not get it into their head to erect statues of Hitler and cheer them," said Mireille-Tsheusi Robert, president of the Congolese action group Bamko-Cran, which wants all Leopold statues removed from Belgian cities. “For us, Leopold has committed a genocide."
On Wednesday, an internet petition to rid the capital, Brussels, of any Leopold statue swept past 70,000 signatures. Also this week, regional education authorities promised history course reforms to better explain the true character of colonialism. And at the University of Mons in southern Belgium, academic authorities removed a bust of the king, saying they wanted to make sure “nobody could be offended by its presence.”
Similar efforts are unfolding in Britain, where at least two statues of prominent figures connected to the slave trade have been taken down by protesters or city officials. London’s mayor has promised a review of all monuments. In the U.S., protesters tore down a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis along Richmond, Virginia’s famed Monument Avenue on Wednesday night. The death of Floyd has prompted similar Confederate monument removals around the nation.
In Kinshasa, a replica of the main Leopold statue in Brussels had already been relegated to a museum park ages ago. The equestrian bronze was first erected in 1928, but seven years after independence from Belgium in 1960 it was ordered taken down by then dictator Mobutu Sese Seko. In 2005, authorities put it back up, intending it to serve as a reminder of the horrors of colonial rule — with an updated plaque. Only a day later, though, it was removed following a public outcry. For the last decade, it has sat in a park of colonial monuments.
Leopold ruled Congo as a fiefdom, forcing many of its people into slavery to extract resources for his personal profit. His early rule, starting in 1885, was famous for its brutality, which some experts say left as many as 10 million dead.
After his ownership of Congo ended in 1908, he handed the central African country over to the Belgian state, which continued to hold sway over an area 75 times its size until the nation became independent in 1960.
Leopold has come to symbolize the racism and inequality citizens of Congolese descent have had to endure. Next to the royal palace stands an equestrian statue with Leopold gazing solemnly toward the horizon. On Wednesday, his hands and eyes were covered with red paint, and expletives were spray-painted on the side of the monument.
Maximilian Christiaens, an architect with a Congolese mother and Belgian father, who came to see the statue after the defacing, realizes the issue is part of his identity. Since Congo achieved independence, Belgium's Congolese population has swelled to about 230,000 in a nation of 11 million.
“You know, we feel at home here, but seeing symbols like this in the city and all over the country gives us the opposite signal," Christiaens said. He would like to see them torn down.
The bust of former Belgian King Leopold II lies on the ground on the Avenue General De Gaulle in Stanleyville — now Kisangani — Congo, in 1961. (AP)
A similar struggle is playing out in the majestic woods east of Brussels in Tervuren, where the palatial Royal Museum for Central Africa stands. It was built over a century ago to glorify Leopold's colonial exploits and to convince Belgium citizens that their country was delivering civilization to the heart of wild Africa.
Museum Director Guido Gryseels fully understands the challenges and the sensitivities, especially after a Leopold statue was defaced in the gardens outside the museum last week. He has sought to shift the museum's views on colonialism into a contemporary reassessment of a flawed past. This week, the Black Lives Matter logo was displayed on digital screens at the museum entrance.
As part of a major renovation he oversaw, Gryseels consigned the racist statues of Congolese and the glorifying busts of the Belgian military to the “depot" of outdated sculptures in the museum's cellars.
“We wanted to keep them somewhere so that the visitors could still see, so that we could explain: ‘This is how we looked at Africa before,'" Gryseels said.
A man stands at the ticket kiosk at the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren, Belgium, on June 9, 2020. (Virginia Mayo/AP)
Upstairs, in the grand rooms, the only bust of Leopold on display is made of ivory and aims to explain how the plunder of the country extended to the wholesale slaughter of elephants.
As a listed architectural treasure, Leopold's royal double L monogram is still plastered all over the building. But Congolese artists have been asked to make a counterpoint, and in the main hall now stands a sculpture of a skull of a Congolese chief who was beheaded by a Belgian. In front of statues that could not be moved because they were protected, there are now transparent drapes with images criticizing Belgian actions in Congo.
“It would have been impossible 30 years ago, but there is a step forward," Robert said. Still, she said the changes do not go far enough and the museum needs to better embrace Congolese in its management structure.
Just about everybody acknowledges that Belgian society needs to take a hard look at its past. The Catholic church, the dominant force in education during much of Belgium's existence, was at worst an active participant in colonialism, at best a passive bystander. And since many Belgians had family members who went to Congo to seek their fortunes, there is a sense of unease in confronting the history of racism and exploitation.
“The amnesia is linked to the money the Belgians made in Congo,” Robert said.
For many years, Belgian colonial authorities peddled the idea that the king went to Congo to stop the slave trade, Gryseels said, when it was really "a pretext to make big economic gains.”
The bust of Belgium's King Leopold II is smeared with paint and graffiti on the grounds of the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren, Belgium, on June 9, 2020. (Virginia Mayo/AP)
Jean-Yves Kamale in Kinshasa contributed
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Be Our Ghost Kindle Edition
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- Print length 140 pages
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- Publication date June 3, 2019
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- ASIN : B07SPC315W
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About the authors
Jacob Floyd is a paranormal and horror author out of Louisville, Kentucky. He and his wife, Jenny Floyd, are known as the Frightening Floyds and write paranormal books together, run Anubis Press and Nightmare Press, Frightening Floyds Photography, the Frightening Floyds' Shepherdsville History and Haunts Tour, and the Frightening Floyds' NuLu History and Haunts Tour.
The Frightening Floyds have authored four nonfiction paranormal books: Louisville's Strange and Unusual Haunts, Kentucky's Haunted Mansions, Haunts of Hollywood Stars and Starlets, and Indiana's Strange and Unusual Haunts. These books include ghost stories, historical accounts, and other eerie legends.
Recently, the Frightening Floyds started Anubis Press, a small press that publishes paranormal nonfiction. Haunts of Hollywood Stars and Starlets is the press's first release. Nightmare Press is the horror imprint of Anubis and Night of the Possums is its first release. They intend to release works by other authors in 2019. Other imprints will follow.
As photographers, they enjoy taking pictures of Gothic and Victorian architecture and cemeteries. They just opened a shop of Etsy called FrighteningFloyds.
Jacob is also a horror writer and his debut novel, The Pleasure Hunt, was published December of 2017. Night of the Possums is his second horror novel. He has a short story in an anthology called 19 Gates of Hell and will have another soon appearing in another anthology by Stitched Smile Publications. He is working on several more novels at current time. So be on the look out for those in the near future!
If you're ever in the Louisville area, and you like ghost stories and history, check out their tours. You can hear history and haunts from an Old Stone Jail, a forgotten cemetery, and house that is more than 100 years old and has seen some major tragedy on the Shepherdsville tour. On the NuLu Tour, you can hear many chilling tales from the most haunted street in Kentucky, Louisville's East Market Street. Look them up on Facebook for more details.
Jenny Floyd has a huge passion for the strange and unusual. Growing up around antiques and living in a haunted home, she developed her fascination with history and haunts at an early age. She is a vegan and a working artist, known for her graveyard photography and the paranormal books she has authored with her husband, Jacob Floyd--together they are known as the Frightening Floyds; they own and operate two historic haunted ghost walks in the Louisville area (Shepherdsville History and Haunts Tour and NuLu History and Haunts Tour). The Frightening Floyds are also travel birds who like to visit abandoned, historic, haunted, and peculiar places, and also love meeting their readers at meet-and-greets and book signings.
Jenny's goal is to put out as many paranormal books as she can for the Frightening Floyds' readers with her and Jacob's publishing company, Anubis Press, which publishes nonfiction paranormal and is the umbrella company for other imprints that publish various fiction genres.
She is very proud of their authors and artists. When she is not busy with her day job and book signings, she loves spending time with her husband and her pets. Loves also being in the garden with her husband. They call it the mermaid garden.
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Hi. This is Thesecret1070. I am an admin of this site. Edit as much as you wish, but one little thing... If you are going to edit a lot, then make yourself a user and login. Other than that, enjoy Villains Wiki!!!
- RWBY Villains
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Floyd the Geist
- View history
Floyd is a minor antagonist from the Rooster Teeth animated webseries RWBY Chibi , the non-canon comedy spinoff of RWBY and a major character in the DC Comic . He is a mischievous and pesky Geist Grimm that serves under Cinder Fall . But at some point, he redeems himself and is currently a member of the Justice League .
He is voiced by Kerry Shawcross, who also voices Neptune Vasilias in the same show.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Personality
- 4 Navigation
Biography [ ]
Floyd debuts in the episode "Geist Buster", unleashed by Roman Torchwick and Neopolitan to spread chaos around Beacon Academy. He at first possesses Roman's hat until Roman tells him off and tells him to attack Team RWBY. He possess Blake's book collection, sending books flying and attacking her, Yang, and Weiss. He then drops a bed on top of them, pinning them down. He then possess some of Ren's pancakes and makes them attack Ruby. However, Nora comes in and eats all of the pancakes with Floyd still possessing them.
In "Cool Dad", Floyd goes to scare Neptune, but has to hide when Sun comes in. He possess a brush, only to be carried off by Sun as he prepares to get in the shower.
In "Cannonball!", Floyd goes to annoy a pair of Beowolves , Mike and Morty , by calling them "possums" and "dingoes". He brags about how he is a major part in Cinder's nefarious plan, and how he's bigger and more powerful than a Beowolf when he is in his Petra Gigas form.
In "Monsters of Rock", Floyd serves as the bassist for the band Trouble Clef , a bad with the other villains, so they can win Battle of the Bands with their music and pyrotechnics, much to Cinder's dismay.
In "Happy BirthdayWeen", Floyd possesses Yang and Ruby's pumpkin planning to scare them, but is shocked when Ruby cuts it with her scythe and the two make a pumpkin pie out of it. He is then horrified when Yang goes to cut a piece.
In "Battle of the Bands", Roman and Trouble Clef enter the contest and begin to perform, but are interrupted when they find out that it is a literal battle between bands. The villains scatter, and Floyd tries to hide by possessing a drum, but is found and beaten up by Nora.
Personality [ ]
Floyd is mischievous, and prides himself on being annoying. He knows his actions cause people misery, but does not care and simply enjoys being evil. However, he mostly enjoys pulling pranks and scaring people, as well as making fun of others and being a general nuisance. However, he is also shown to display a cowardly personality, and flees and hides when something does not go his way.
Gallery [ ]
Navigation [ ]
- 1 Kraven the Hunter (Marvel's Spider-Man 2)
- 2 Michael Myers (original)
- 3 Miss America
Americus Horror Story: Hotel (Ghosts of the Windsor Hotel)
This is a podcast transcript, originally published as part of the Crimes & Witch-Demeanors Podcast.
Hello, and welcome to another episode of Crimes & Witch-Demeanors, the podcast where we use historic and archival resources to investigate ghost stories and separate fact from fiction. I’m your host, and loveable librarian, Joshua Spellman.
I wanted to take care of some housekeeping before we get into the episode: I hope the new podcast artwork didn’t spook you! I love the illustration my good Judy GiAnna Ligammari made for the podcast, and I’m still using it on the website and other branding, but I needed something that read better as a thumbnail and that is graphic and punchy for new listeners. So…I hope you don’t mind the change! I did it as a stress doodle while waiting for updates about my mom who is in the hospital this last week and I fell in love with it…and I hope you do too!
But I digress!
On today’s episode we’re making like the devil and heading on down to Georgia. Most people’s minds go straight to Savanah when picturing the haunted South, but today we’re setting our sights the smaller, lesser known town of Americus. Specifically, we’re honing in on the historic Windsor Hotel. Among the living, many denizens of the dead are said to be checked in as permanent guests– but are the only true spirits those on the shelf in the pub? Let’s find out. But first, here is the alleged history of the ghosts at Americus Georgia’s Windsor Hotel.
The Alleged History
The Windsor Hotel, despite being located in the small city of Americus, Georgia, is a grand and opulent structure, not unlike the castle across the pond that shares its name. Like Windsor Castle, the hotel has housed great figures of history and harbors ghosts of the past.
In August of 1888 a reporter for the Americus Recorder discovered John Sheffield and Ross Harper measuring the court square of the city. When the reporter inquired as to why, Mr. Sheffield responded simply, “because Major Moses Speer and Papa told me to.” Without hesitation, the reporter rushed to the Bank of Southwestern Georgia and asked to speak with the president, Major Moses Speer to get the real scoop on the story.
Major Speer told the reporter that he planned on building a hotel and that “the hotel will be built and in short order. There is no doubt about that…it will be a building worthy of the city.” And indeed it would be.
Two architects submitted plans for the hotel: W.H. Parkins and G.L. Norman. On March 21 st , 1888 the selection committee for the project, which consisted of S.H. Hawkins, John Windsor, and C.M. Wheatley, favored the design drafted by Parkins.
Parkins’ plan for the hotel was to erect a square, four-story wooden structure with 120 rooms. The front of the building would run the entire length of Jackson Street and the corner would house two additional floors.
However, G.L. Normann would not take no for an answer, and the remainder of the corporation preferred his design. Normann described his plan as being “a more fanciful character, greatly resembling the Hotel Alcazar at St. Augustine” (which, by the way, is the modern day Ripley’s Believe it or Not? Building). Normann’s design was a brick structure of three and five stories in height, contained 100 rooms, and space for ten shops on the street level.
On April 17 th the committee chose Normann’s proposal with an estimated budget of $80,000. Construction began in September of 1890 and was completed on June 16, 1892.
The lavish hotel would go on to house famous guests including Presidents William Jennings Bryan, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jimmy Carter. The hotel is the epitome of Victorian architecture. The Windsor spans an entire city block, complete with a tower, turret, balconies, and an open three-story open atrium.
The Windsor’s outlook was auspicious from the start but it immediately fall on hard times. In 1893, two years after its construction, an economic depression swept the nation, decimating the tourism trade – the hotel’s only reason for being. By the turn of the century, the Windsor filed for bankruptcy and was sold to Charles A. Fricker, a jeweler, for $40,000, a mere fraction of what the building was worth.
In September of 1910 the hotel was completely renovated, installing electric lights, telephones, steam heat, and new elevators…the likes of which would end up being the genesis of our first pair of hotel ghosts.
There was a maid, Emily Mae, and her daughter, Abigail, who lived in the hotel in the servant’s quarters. Emily Mae served as the head housekeeper but in order to support her and her child she wasn’t a stranger to offering extra services to the gentlemen of the hotel. However, Emily Mae had a jealous lover who did not appreciate the work she did to supplement her income.
One day, while working in the third floor hallway, Emily Mae’s lover angrily confronted her, apparently jealous about her conducting sex work. Things got heated. Voiced were raised. Little Abigail heard the commotion and rushed to her mother’s side, at first cowering behind her, but then holding her hand in a show of defiance and support. Her and her mother would no longer tolerate the abuse from this man.
“You WENCH! ” the man bellowed as he shoved Emily Mae backwards into the open elevator. However, what he didn’t notice…or perhaps he did…was that the elevator doors were open, but the lift was not stopped on the third floor. Emily Mae and Abigail tumbled hand in hand down the empty elevator shaft, landing in a mangled heap on the ground floor with their fingers still interlocked. They were together until the very end.
Their spirits still roam the third floor. Many people spot Abigail rushing up and down the hall, playing with her toys seemingly in good…spirits. Sometimes Emily Mae’s ghost can be spotted in the mirror, but when you turn around…there’s no one there, just you and an icy chill running down your spine.
Alas, Emily Mae and Abigail’s accident wasn’t the only treacherous tumble at the Windsor Hotel. As a young and beautiful bride made her way down the private bridal suite staircase to wed her beloved, she tripped on her gown, fell down the steep staircase, and broke her neck. Her spirit now roams the hotel, her bridal gown transformed from white to black, as she mourns the married life she never had.
As time ticked on, Windsor Hotel never fully recaptured the initial success it garnered in its first two years of operation. The property was sold once again in the 1930’s to Mr. Howard Dayton, of Daytona Beach, Florida. Mr. Dayton would operate the hotel for four decades until it closed in 1974, having been open for 82 years.
Floyd Lowery, a doorman and lift operator, worked at the Windsor Hotel for the full 40 years that Dayton owned it. Lowery was a happy, chipper man, who loved his job, the guests, and the hotel. Floyd always made sure that visitors were happy and comfortable. Luckily, Floyd did not die a tragic death in the hotel. However, despite that fact, his ghost still roams the property.
Sadly, after the hotel closed in 1974, the Windsor fell to ruin, as buildings do, without living souls to inhabit it. The hotel was donated to the city of Americus in 1978 by Howard Dayton’s family and it sat for decades. The only visitors being the pigeons roosting in the rafters and the rodents scurrying along the rotting floors.
The city had a big decision to make: either demolish the building and replace it with a parking lot, or funnel millions of dollars into its restoration. The residents of Americus were almost unanimous in the decision to restore the city’s gem. It cost the city a lot of money to restore the hotel. However, since the city owned the property, they managed to save nearly have a million dollars by utilizing the prison industrial complex and exploiting inmates for slave labor. Construction and planning took many years, but the restoration was completed in 1991.
The Windsor Hotel is once again the opulent centerpiece to the small city of Americus. While many guests come to stay for a night, the presence of its permanent, spectral residents are strongly felt.
Guests often approach the front desk to complain about the child running around the third floor…but are disturbed to discover that there are no children currently staying at the hotel. Countless others ask to speak to the manager to complement the courteous bellhop, Floyd who carried their bags to their rooms. However, there’s only one problem…that is not a service the hotel currently offers. Nor do they employ anyone by the name of Floyd.
Floyd’s ghost brings positive and uplifting energy to the old hotel, even assisting the staff on occasion. While his spirit may have departed, his legacy lives on as the namesake of the hotel’s restaurant, Floyd’s Pub.
Ghost Hunters have come to the hotel and certified it as “haunted” and there is even a plaque that boasts this fact in the hotel’s lobby. So, if you ever find yourself in Americus, book a night at the Windsor, you may be in for a ghoulish treat. And say hello to Floyd for me.
What Really Happened
You don’t know the heaps of trash I had to wade through to scrape together enough rotted crumbs to write this episode. I think this is the most amount of sources I have in the bibli-ahh-graphy, but not because they’re good. I just had so much garbage to sort through. There isn’t a lot to go on in these stories, even the names of the mother and daughter took a while to find…and even then they are always changing. I had to watch so many terrible shaky-cam ghost investigator videos and awful mommy vlogs…don’t get me started on Hot Mama Travel …but I did manage to find out some very interesting things. Including the ghost report from paranormal investigators.
The Windsor’s original name was going to be the “Alhambra” but this quote “struck a discordant note in the community” and instead the name Windsor was chosen for John T. Windsor who was one of the leading capitalists in Americus and the community decided the name was “more suggestive of the aristocratic qualities to which Americus aspired”
Honestly, in a city in the south, named Americus, I’m not surprised they’d rather go with a very white sounding name of a prominent capitalist because it was “more suggestive of the qualities to which they aspired”. Aka. White. Rich. And white. But I digress.
The first thing I want to get out of the way is the date the hotel was completed. Many sources say that it was completed in June 1892. The building itself was actually completed in October of 1891. However, the hotel didn’t officially open until the grand opening in June of 1892. Minor detail…but it bothered me.
So many things bothered me, honestly. Like the fact there is another librarian coming for my gig?! Fricken Lesia Miller Schnur, the Haunted Librarian! She was extremely helpful in providing some of the names applied to the mother and daughter: Emma, Abigail, and Emily Mae. Other sources say that the little girl’s name was Sallie, Theresa, or Selina. Lesia reveals that John T. Windsor’s name was Emily Amelia so there may be a link there to this legend.
But…other than that her post didn’t reveal anything I hadn’t read elsewhere despite claiming “I’m the history buff, so I still did my research…apparently other groups may not have” I have . I have , Lesia!
The story of the mother and daughter has many holes. The first is the date of the occurrence: either the early 1910’s or in the 1920’s. Second, is the fact that these two were poor, possibly people of color, and so their murder may not have been reported in any substantial matter. Third, is the fact there aren’t actually any names to assign to it. I spent a few hours searching and while I did not find anything on this story, as great of a ghost tale as it is, I think I found something…better?
Someone did fall down the elevator shaft.
The Columbus Enquirer published on January 7, 1894 the following story:
“Down the Elevator Shaft: Serious Accident in Americus to a Wealthy Ohioan
Mr. R.S. Rust, an aged gentleman of 78, from Cincinnati, Ohio, vice-president of the Union Central Life Insurance Company of that city, fell down the elevator shaft of the Windsor Hotel today and sustained seriously injuries. His shoulder is fractured and his nose broken in three places. He fell about 10 feet from the office floor to the basement. The elevator was above but supposing it at the office floor, opened the door of the shaft and stepped into the basement below. Owing to his advanced age, serious results are feared from the shock.”
Now this is something to go on. He’s a man? Check. He’s white? Check. He’s wealthy? Check. These make up the trifecta you need to be preserved in history as anything other than a nameless stereotype!
Now using the name from article I did find an old white man from Cincinnati born around 78 years prior to the article’s publication: Reverend Richard Sutton Rust, Senior. There was one problem though…no modern material identified that he had any involvement with the Union Central Life Insurance Company. You would think this would be highlighted in the book passages and articles I found about him.
Instead, these articles paint a picture of a man fully dedicated to the Episcopal Church who was a staunch abolitionist. Was this the wrong man? Nah. It turns out when you’re rich and white you can pick and choose what parts of your legacy are propagated.
I did find an alumni catalogue of his college fraternity and legislative documents from 1905 which confirmed that the Reverend Richard Sutton Rust and R.S. Rust from the Union Central Life Insurance company were one in the same.
During the civil war, Rust helped found the Freedman’s Aid Society which gave teachers from the North supplies and housing to teach freed slaves in the south. Rust also assisted nearly 30 colleges with educating former slaves and their children.
After the war he set up the Freedman’s Bureau which was a division of the United States Department of War that provided shelter and supplies to refugees, freedman, along with their wives and children.
So it seems R.S. Rust was actually a really good guy! I kind of felt bad that I hoped he died from the elevator accident…just so we’d actually have an elevator ghost in the hotel. Turns out he lived and died in 1906 at the age of 91. Good for her.
Part of me wants to change his Wikipedia page to include his major involvement in the insurance company (it’s how he got that Daddy Morebucks money after all) as well as his embarrassing tumble down the Windsor’s elevator but I’ll exhibit some self-control.
While the elevator ghost story is bunk I was happy to find out that Floyd Lowery was indeed a real person…which I would hope since the pub is named after him…and he did work at the Windsor Hotel for a very long time. I found a variety of fantastic records that I’ll put on the podcast Instagram, @crimesandwitchdemeanors for you to look at.
Census records from 1920 to 1940 list Floyd’s occupation as porter at the Windsor Hotel, the 1923 Americus City Directory (which is super cool) lists Floyd Lowery as a bellman; and I also discovered Floyd’s draft cards. It appears he was drafted during the second World War.
Floyd Ardell Lowery was an African-American man and was born on February 28, 1903. I don’t believe that he ever married as multiple census records show that he lived with his mother, Mammie throughout his lifetime. Floyd Lowery died on February 1, 1982 according to the Georgia Department of Health’s Death Index. However, in that particular document birth is listed as 1915 and that he was 67 years old at the time of his death. However, his military records and census records corroborate another and confirm his birthdate was indeed 1903, making him almost 79 at the time of his death.
I love that Floyd is such a presence at the hotel and that his memory is able to live on through the name of the pub. However, some the ghost stories about him make me uncomfy. But racism is uncomfortable.
When we say racism is systemic, we mean it is systemic. It is so insidious that it even feeds down into the ghost stories we tell our children. Ghost stories involving marginalized people, or people of color, are often based in, and perpetuate, stereotypes. This is most apparent in the ghost tourism of the south which exploits the tales slaves but it can be observed elsewhere as well.
These types of stories served to illustrate what would happen if you dared to misbehave, stand up for yourself, or fight for your survival. These spirits often are left to suffer in the afterlife for their apparent misdeeds and act as a warning – or threat – to stay in your lane lest you suffer a similar fate.
Other ghost tales tell of those who led a life of “good” servitude, who’s life didn’t tragically end, but came instead to a graceful close. If you act like this you can rewarded in the afterlife, to continue to dutifully serve and labor even after death (wow—what a reward). These stories perpetuate the idea of the “good black” stereotype and further dehumanize the people they are about.
I feel like this is the kind of mold that Floyd Lowery has been put into as he is often helping guests with their luggage or working in the elevator. Never having fun, never having a drink or just kicking back to relax. But Floyd was more than his job, he was a human being. I could hardly believe that he would want to spend his afterlife working for no wages. Would you? God , no. Some of us already make ghost wages here among the living. But I digress. Onwards to more ghostly tomfoolery.
The story of the bride tripping and falling down the stairs is a strange one. I have only read about it on one article about the hotel and it’s hauntings. However, that didn’t stop me from investigating it for a ridiculously long amount of time.
I did find… something ? While it doesn’t match the ghost story, there is some piping hot 129-year-old tea.
This excerpt is from the March 14, 1892 issue of the Macon Telegraph in an article titled “Married in Haste: and now the bride is without a husband”
So, it only tangentially involved the Windsor but I thought it was some hot Victorian goss to share with y’all!
But enough about gossip. Back to the ghosts. The ghouls. The ghastly gremlins.
There was a big hub-bub in 2006 about how paranormal investigators claimed the hotel as “certifiably haunted”. A number of articles were written about it, the hotel made a page on its website for the full ghost report and even put a plaque in the lobby boasting about it.
But now…it’s gone vanished. Gone. Disappeared. Stricken from the internet. The hotel, which used to brag about it’s ghosts, doesn’t even mention it on their website anymore. The paranormal investigators, the Big Bend Ghost Trackers, even removed it from their website. I have a feeling that may be because they are now owned by Best Western and they want to keep it hush-hush.
Or…maybe they’re embarrassed about what this “certificate of hauntedticity” contains.
So it’s been deleted from the internet. They tried to cover it up. But they didn’t know a librarian would be on their case.
Obviously , I found it. It’s not that hard. If you’re ever looking for a page that is now a 404 there are two really easy methods to see the previous page. First is just paste the URL in Google and search. When the page comes up in the search results, hit the three dots and view the cached page. Voila! But if their cache isn’t old enough, go to the good ‘ol internet archive and use the Wayback machine, hopefully you’ll find what you’re looking for!
And boy did I find what I was looking for. This oh so legitimate report was… something.
Here are the official findings from the report:
- Out of 150 digital photos 3 yielded possible anomalies
- 2 EMF fluctuations were documented. One between the second and third floors with a 6 degree spike, and one on the left hallway of the third floor with an 8 degree spike
- Several cold spots have been detected…in a 129 year old building…you don’t say?
- Some anomalies caught on film
- One of the hallway light bulbs that was completely unscrewed turned on without anyone near it
- Through channeling one investigator picked up the names of little girls: Theresa and Sallie
Because of the above phenomena the report lists the Windsor Hotel as H-A-U-N-T-E-D. Yes. They spelled it out in the report.
I do have some issues with these findings. Especially the very subjective “evidence” they found via channeling. Which was conducted thusly:
BBGT members Betty and Lisa were in states of meditation and channeling in attempting to make contact with the ghostly inhabitants of the hotel. Betty, while stationed in an adjoining 3rd floor hallway singing in a child-like voice the old turn of the century tune “A tisket a tasket”, suddenly felt a cool breeze on her right side and the digital thermometer displayed a sudden 6 degree drop in temperature. While continuing to sing she was clearly able to sense the presence of a young girl. After a brief time the camera recorded what appears to be orbs bouncing a short distance down the 3rd. floor hallway. The names Sallie (with an ie) and the names Theresa were very much attached to the young girl. BBGT member Lisa was also visually picking up and sensing the strong presence of an entity with the name Adams. Later, while attempting to validate our findings it was discovered that in the early 1940’s there had been an employee named Adams.
But mediums aren’t…a great source of reliable information. I watched videos where other mediums visited the hotel so you don’t have to, and dear lord they were an hour and fifty minutes of shaky cam footage. But, for example the mediums in these videos experienced “giddy feelings” outside the bar and decided the ghost was a child definitely named “Selina” But…that’s an entirely new name than the ones provided, truly a shot in the dark. And if we’re experiencing a giddy feeling outside the bar…I would like to think that’s good ‘ol Floyd. Happy to see his name in lights and people enjoying a cocktail.
I tried to look for some first-hand encounters with ghosts at the hotel and I didn’t find much. Maybe because not too many people stay at the hotel. I found a lot of Americus locals saying they’ve never even been inside. But here are two experiences I did find:
“I was staying in room 308 and smelled old fashioned women’s perfume several times while in the shower”
Honestly…to me that just sounds like catching a waft of some awful hotel soaps and shampoo. But maybe there’s an old lady who fell in the shower. The next experience…also involves a bathroom? Lending some credence to this new hypothesis.
Why is there a bath towel in the toilet? That’s what my wife asked me last Wednesday the 17th of March 2021at 2:30 AM. I was staying there on business. What a beautiful hotel. I asked the staff at Floyds if they had experienced anything. I got mixed replies. Things about the lights turning on and off occasionally. My wife who was already in GA decided to surprises me on her way back to Florida. That night she got up to use the bathroom in room 211 and quickly came back to bed asking me why a full sized folded bath towel was in the toilet. Didn’t sleep well that night obviously. It wasn’t till the next day that the stories of hauntings came from everyone I spoke to when I told where I was staying. Weird experience and no plausible explanation on how the towel ended up in the toilet. I slammed doors, jumped up and down and could not get a folded towel to so much as move off the rack above the toilet. If I ever go back to Americus , I surly choose the Windsor Hotel again. Magnificently strange!
So maybe investigators should spend less time singing creepy folk-tunes in the hallways at 2:30 in the morning and spend more time on the toilet.
So what do you think? Is the Windsor Haunted? Would you want to stay? Personally, I don’t think it’s very haunted. 2 thirds of its stories aren’t even true. But I think I’d like to enjoy an Old Fashioned in Floyd’s pub just for the fun of it.
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So please, look before you enter an elevator, remember sex work is real work, and of course, stay spooky. Bye~
thanks, very interesting 🙂
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Floyd Ghost Tour
The Floyd Ghost Tour has been featured in the Travel Virginia! Magazine and enjoyed by professional ghost hunters, residents and visitors alike. The tour takes place in the center of the town of Floyd, Virginia and folks come from Roanoke, Christiansburg, Blacksburg, Radford and all over the New River Valley to enjoy the scary stories and local history. These are one hour long walking tours, so bring your walking shoes (although it is on sidewalks and wheelchair accessible.)
The Floyd Ghost Tour was started in 2007 by 16-year old actor, Cameron Woodruff and he’s been doing it ever since. Prepare to be scared, laugh and learn with ghost stories, legends and interesting historical facts.
Attention scouts, Red Hat Society, homeschool groups, etc. if you have more than four people, private tours can be arranged with Cameron Woodruff 540-230-4862
2016 Ghost Tour Schedule :
Ghost Tours take place on Friday and Saturday nights in October
and the first weekend of November. Tours leave from Floyd Artisans Market Pavilion, 201 S. Locust Street, Floyd, VA. Cost is $10 per person. Rain or shine.
Friday, October 7 at 6:00, 7:00 & 8:00
Saturday, October 8 at 6:00, 7:00 & 8:00
Friday, October 14 at 6:00, 7:00 & 8:00
Sat., Oct. 15 at 6:00, 7:00 & 8:00
Fri. Oct. 21 at 6:00, 7:00 & 8:00
Sat, Oct 22 at 6:00, 7:00 & 8:00
Fri. Oct 28 at 6:00, 7:00 & 8:00
Sat. Oct. 29 at 6:00, 7:00 & 8:00
Fri. Nov. 4 at 6:00, 7:00 & 8:00
Sat. Nov. 5 at 6:00, 7:00 & 8:00
No reservations are required! Rain or shine.
Look for the Floyd Ghost Tour guides in their black clothes and top hats, leading the way thru cemetery stones and around the center of town.
Regularly scheduled walking tours are every Friday and Saturday evening at 6, 7, & 8 PM in October and the beginning of November. http://www.strangetalesoffloydcounty.com/floyd-ghost-tour.html
The cost is $10 for the hour long walking tour. Tours leave from Floyd Artisans Market, 201 S. Locust Street, Floyd, VA (If you have more than 4 people, a private tour may be arranged based on availability by calling 540-230-4862.)
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