George Floyd called for his mother in the viral video that has sparked unrest throughout the country and calls for police reform. His mother was named Larcenia Floyd, and she died in 2018 in Texas, according to her obituary.
George Floyd, of course, is the Minneapolis man whose restraint in police custody was captured on video and has sparked protests and riots throughout the country. Four former Minneapolis police officers are now facing criminal charges in connection with Floyd’s death.
While he was pinned to the ground by the knee of a Minneapolis police officer, Floyd, 46, called out, “Mamma! Mamma!”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Floyd’s Mother, Who Had Five Children, Was a Leader in Her Neighborhood
George Floyd was the oldest of five siblings. According to the Post, Floyd was born in Fayetteville, N.C., in 1973. His mother was named Larcenia Jones Floyd.
The New York Times described how Larcenia raised her children in one of Houston’s poorest neighborhoods; her son George was a star athlete growing up. He made it to college before getting into trouble with the law and then making his way to Minneapolis for a new start, The Times reported.
According to the Times, that neighborhood was called the Bricks. His mother moved there after splitting from Floyd’s father. She raised her kids in a public housing complex called Cuney Homes in Houston.
Larcenia “was among the leaders of Cuney Homes and an active member of the resident council,” noted The Times, which added that she also raised some of her grandchildren and her neighbors’ children.
1. Floyd’s Mother, Who Worked at a Burger Stand, Was Born in North Carolina But Is Buried in Pearland, Texas
Her FindaGrave page says that Larcenia “Sissy” Jones Floyd was born in 1947 in New Hope, North Carolina and died at age 71 on May 30, 2018 in Harris County, Texas. She is buried in Pearland, Texas.
Her husband was George Perry Floyd, Sr., who died at age 53 in 2002. He was born and died in North Carolina.
According to Arkansas Online, Larcenia worked at a burger stand called Guidry’s when Floyd was growing up, and Floyd would go there often.
“Sometimes we’d just go through there, and he’d go check on his mom and we would grab a burger or fries and a drink or something,” said friend Herbert Mouton to the site. “It was a simple thing. Just going to check on his mom at work.”
3. A Time Magazine Cover Drew Inspiration From Floyd’s Mother
A Time Magazine cover that highlighted police-related deaths featured the image of an African-American mother holding a child. The artist, Titus Kaphar told Time, “In her expression, I see the black mothers who are unseen, and rendered helpless in this fury against their babies. As I listlessly wade through another cycle of violence against black people, I paint a black mother … eyes closed, furrowed brow, holding the contour of her loss.”
Floyd’s brother, and Larcenia’s other son, Philonise Floyd, has spoken about the family’s pain.
On June 10, Philonise Floyd appeared before the House Judiciary Committee.
“I’m tired,” Philonise Floyd said. “I’m tired of the pain. … I’m here today to ask you to make it stop. Stop the pain. Stop us from being tired.”
Philonise asked Congress to ensure his brother will be “more than another name on a list that won’t stop growing.”
He added, “I can’t tell you the kind of pain you feel when you watch something like that. When you watch your big brother, who you’ve looked up to your whole life, die. Die begging for your mom.”
According to the Washington Post, Floyd’s appearance before Congress came after Democrats unveiled police reform measures, including better tracking of police misconduct and a ban on chokeholds.
4. Floyd Had His Mother’s Name Tattooed on His Stomach
According to the New York Times, Floyd’s mother’s name was tattooed on his stomach. They died two years and one week apart.
The tattoo is noted in his autopsy report.
“He didn’t deserve to die over $20,” Philonise Floyd said. You can read the full statement that Philonise Floyd gave to Congress here.
5. Relatives of George Floyd Have Also Spoken Out, Including Larcenia’s Siblings
Philonise is not the only Floyd relative to speak out since Floyd’s death. His uncle, Selwyn Jones, gave an interview to the Rapid City Journal.
Jones pointed out that George Floyd called out for his deceased mother in the video.
“The thing that disturbs me the most is hearing him call for my sister,” Jones said to the newspaper. “He starts calling for my sister and (his) mama because he probably knew that he was going to go away.”
He said the 46 year old Floyd left behind three children and added, “He always had a smile on his face. He was always smiling and laughing.”
Floyd’s aunt, Angela Harrelson, told the Los Angeles Times that her great-grandfather was a slave, and her great-grandmother Larcenia, had 22 children. Her mother, Laura Stewart Jones, “worked in the tobacco fields for $2.50 a day,” she told the newspaper.