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Two years after his death in Minneapolis, George Floyd’s words and image live on — in art

On the two-year anniversary of the day Floyd was killed by the Minneapolis police, George Floyd Square and its surrounding streets are haunted by Floyd’s image and remnants of the uprising that his murder inspired.

The streets around George Floyd Square were eerily quiet the Monday after the shootings in Buffalo, New York. A single vendor hawked her wares to no one, while nearby, yet another international TV crew buttonholed a few folks to talk about what the last two years have meant to the neighborhood.

The scene was a decidedly different one than two years ago, or on the one-year anniversary of Floyd’s death, or when the Derek Chauvin guilty verdict was announced, when the eyes of the world centered on the intersection of East 38th Street and South Chicago Avenue. Now, as the May 25th anniversary of the day Floyd was killed by the Minneapolis Police dawns, the square and its surrounding streets are haunted by Floyd’s image and remnants of the uprising that his homicide inspired.

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Compared to the eruption of words and images that dotted Lake Street and Chicago Avenue in the springs of 2020 and 2021, much of the graffiti and street art honoring Floyd has been washed away or preserved, as have most of the planters and artwork that sprang up around George Floyd Square and surrounding blocks.

But some remain as somber reminders of Floyd’s life and death, the movement that sprang up in his name, and the two long years his adopted hometown and this country have lived through:

“Say His Name 5/25 RIP George Floyd”: George Floyd Square, E. 38th and S. Chicago Avenue.
MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh
“Say His Name 5/25 RIP George Floyd”: George Floyd Square, E. 38th and S. Chicago Avenue.
“Forever in our hearts”: Fifth Element record store, Uptown.
MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh
“Forever in our hearts”: Fifth Element record store, Uptown.
“Rest in Power”: Centro De Trabajadores Unidos parking lot off of George Floyd Square.
MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh
“Rest in Power”: Centro De Trabajadores Unidos parking lot off of George Floyd Square.
“Say Their Names” cemetery park, off George Floyd Square.
MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh
“Say Their Names” cemetery park, off George Floyd Square.

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Hook and Ladder Theater & Lounge next to the burned-down Third Precinct off E. Lake Street and S. Minnehaha Avenue.
MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh
Hook and Ladder Theater & Lounge next to the burned-down Third Precinct off E. Lake Street and S. Minnehaha Avenue.
MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh
From the mural in the gas station parking lot across from Cup Foods:

“On May 25, 2020, George Floyd was murdered by former Minneapolis Police Officers. This event sparked an uprising by this community in protest of systemic racism within the City of Minneapolis (the city). On May 30, 2020, police vehicles drove through the George Floyd Memorial in the middle of the night, causing the community to establish barricades to prevent vehicles from entering the intersection. On June 2, 2020, the City of Minneapolis placed cement barricades at the street entrances of George Floyd Square for pedestrian safety. For weeks, city employees and community members engaged in conversations to discuss what happens next and address the needs of the community. On August 6, 2020, city employees informed a handful of community leaders and business owners that despite no consensus, they intend to remove the barricades of August 17th. This resolution outlines demands for justice by community members who do not intend to allow the intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue to open up without concrete actions of justice taken by the city.” 

Chicago Avenue off George Floyd Square.
MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh
Chicago Avenue off George Floyd Square.
Bus stop in front of Cup Foods.
MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh
Bus stop in front of Cup Foods.
Chicago Avenue off George Floyd Square: “Justice for George”
MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh
Chicago Avenue off George Floyd Square: “Justice for George”

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Spring flowers blooming in planter at George Floyd Square.
MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh
Spring flowers blooming in planter at George Floyd Square.
“Say Their Names” cemetery park off George Floyd Square.
MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh
“Say Their Names” cemetery park off George Floyd Square.
One of the many stencils that line the sidewalks at George Floyd Square.
MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh
One of the many stencils that line the sidewalks at George Floyd Square.
White Castle parking lot, West Lake Street and Blaisdell Avenue: “‘You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world, and you have to do it all the time. – Angela Davis’” 
MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh
White Castle parking lot, West Lake Street and Blaisdell Avenue: “‘You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world, and you have to do it all the time. – Angela Davis’” 

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Former Walmart parking lot, West Lake Street: “Remember Honor Forgive.” 
MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh
Former Kmart parking lot, West Lake Street: “Remember Honor Forgive.”
George Floyd Square: “All mothers were summoned when George Floyd called out for his.”
MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh
George Floyd Square: “All mothers were summoned when George Floyd called out for his.”
George Floyd Square: “Daddy changed the world!”
MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh
George Floyd Square: “Daddy changed the world!”
George Floyd Square: “You changed the world, George.”
MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh
George Floyd Square: “You changed the world, George.”
A fading “Justice for George” outside the burned-down Third Precinct on East Lake Street.
MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh
A fading “Justice for George” outside the burned-down Third Precinct on East Lake Street.
 
West 44th Street, South Minneapolis: “I Can’t Breathe”
MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh
West 44th Street, South Minneapolis: “I Can’t Breathe”
George Floyd Square: “I Can Breathe Now”
MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh
George Floyd Square: “I Can Breathe Now”
Planter overlooking the spot where Floyd drew his last breath at George Floyd Square: “George Floyd lives on in us all”
Screen shot
Planter overlooking the spot where Floyd drew his last breath at George Floyd Square: “George Floyd lives on in us all”