George Floyd Square

Coordinates: 44°56′03″N 93°15′45″W / 44.9343°N 93.2624°W / 44.9343; -93.2624
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

George Floyd Square
George Perry Floyd Square
38th and Chicago
Street sign, May 25, 2022
Intersection location in Minneapolis.
Former name(s)George Perry Floyd Jr. Place
Part ofPowderhorn community
NamesakeGeorge Floyd
TypeCommemorative street
OwnerCity of Minneapolis
LengthTwo city blocks
AddressesChicago Avenue
LocationMinneapolis, Minnesota, United States
Postal code55407
Coordinates44°56′03″N 93°15′45″W / 44.9343°N 93.2624°W / 44.9343; -93.2624
FromEast 37th Street (north)
East 38th Street
ToEast 39th Street (south)
InaugurationMay 25, 2022
Known for

George Floyd Square, officially George Perry Floyd Square, is the commemorative street name for the section of Chicago Avenue in the U.S. city of Minneapolis from East 37th Street to East 39th Street. It is named after George Floyd, a Black man who was murdered there by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on May 25, 2020. The streetway and memorial site is centered at the 38th and Chicago intersection.

Public outrage over Floyd's murder resulted in the largest mass protest movement since the civil rights movement, largely over issues of systemic racism and police brutality. Racial justice activists and some community members erected barricades and closed the 38th and Chicago street intersection to vehicular traffic for over a year during the George Floyd Square occupied protest in 2020 and 2021. Artists and demonstrators installed several exhibits, paintings, sculptures, and other works of art to memorialize Floyd and visualize racial justice themes.

The City of Minneapolis officially designated the streetway as George Perry Floyd Square in 2022.[1] Long-term planning for an official, permanent memorial to Floyd at the site is underway.[2]


Chicago Avenue is a major north–south thorough fare in Minneapolis. It was named Ames Street in an 1855 city plat map. Sometime in the late 1880s, the Minneapolis City Council changed the name of Ames Street to Chicago Avenue, but historians are unsure exactly when or why the street was renamed.[3]

Chicago Avenue intersects East 38th Street in the city's Powderhorn community. The 38th and Chicago street intersection is a border for several city neighborhoods: Bancroft, Bryant, Central, and Powderhorn Park.[4][5]


Murder of George Floyd[edit]

The East 38th Street and Chicago Avenue intersection was the location of the murder of George Floyd by Derek Chauvin, an officer with the Minneapolis Police Department. Chauvin, a White man, knelt on the neck of Floyd, an unarmed Black man, for about 9 minutes and 29 seconds while Floyd begged for help, said he could not breathe, lost consciousness, and died on May 25, 2020. The incident, which occurred in the street outside the Cup Foods store, was filmed by bystanders and circulated widely in the media.[6][7] In reaction to Floyd's murder, protests began locally on May 26, 2020, and gave way to widespread civil unrest. After several days, the Black Lives Matter movement protests spread throughout the United States and to many other countries.

Autonomous zone[edit]

Fist sculpture and mementos, June 19, 2020

Soon after Floyd's murder, people left memorials to him near the Cup Foods store. The street intersection soon transitioned to an occupation protest referred to as George Floyd Square as protesters erected barricades to block vehicular traffic and transformed the space with public art of Floyd and that of other racial justice themes.[8][9] The physical occupation of the street intersection after Floyd's murder persisted for over a year, but it was not without controversy.[10][11] Some local businesses objected to the street closure and some neighbors felt perceptions that the area was "autonomous" or police-free led to an increase in violent crime.[12][13] The city reopened the street intersection to vehicular traffic on June 20, 2021, but the protest movement that was rooted there persisted into 2023.[11][14][15]

Official designation and planning[edit]

In September 2020, the city named the two-block section of Chicago Avenue from East 37th Street (northern end) to East 39th Street (southern end) as "George Perry Floyd Jr. Place". The city again renamed the street way as "George Perry Floyd Square", with an inauguration ceremony taking place on May 25, 2022, the second anniversary of Floyd's murder.[1][16][17]

Minneapolis officials designated the broader East 38th Street corridor as one of seven city cultural districts in late 2020. As part of the cultural district's long-term design plan, officials sought to preserve public art installments at the 38th and Chicago intersection that emerged in the aftermath of George Floyd's murder.[18] The City of Minneapolis stated in mid 2021 that it would work with the local community to establish a permanent memorial at the street intersection.[19] In 2022, the City of Minneapolis began a process to "re-envision" the streets of 38th Street East and Chicago Avenue to permanently incorporate memorials to George Floyd and make transportation improvements.[2][15] The regional Metro Transit authority removed a previously planned rapid bus stop on the METRO D Line at 38th Street and Chicago Avenue, but said they would engage with the community on future plans for the area.[20]

Amongst the protest occupation and permanent memorial planning, incidents of violent crime at the square area led to broader public discussion about public safety and policing.[21] By August 14, 2022, seven people had been killed by gun violence at the square since Floyd's murder, [21][22][23][24][25][26][27] and one person had died there as the result of a drug overdose.[28]


George Floyd Square has hosted thousands of visitors from around the world.[29] Caretakers for the memorial do not view the site as a tourist destination, but as a place for reflection about issues of racism and injustice.[30] The site has been likened to other monuments of historic trauma, such as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., and the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.[31][32]

Other notable features[edit]

Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center[edit]

Chicago Avenue Fine Arts Center (at left), May 30, 2021

The Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center occupies the space of the historic Nokomis Theater on the 3700 block of Chicago Avenue. The building was originally constructed in 1915 and designed by architect Joseph E. Nason. The theater was expanded in 1928 and remained for several decades until it closed in 1952 along with the Chicago Avenue streetcar line.[33] The structure was significantly altered and was later used as an automobile repair shop until the building and many original architectural details were restored in the 2000s.[34] The arts center was founded in 2007 by residents in the Central and Bryant neighborhoods with the goal to increase equity in public art. By 2020, the center was serving 800 artists per year.[35][36]

Cup Foods[edit]

Cup Foods, May 30, 2021

Cup Foods, located on the 3700 block of Chicago Avenue, opened in 1989 as a combination grocery store, convenience store, and restaurant in the Powderhorn community in Minneapolis.[37] Cup Foods was founded by Samir Abumayyaleh, who was born in Palestine and emigrated to the United States as a child.[38] The name of the store was originally Chicago Unbeatable Prices, but later shortened to CUP.[38] The area around the store had also been the location of violent crime, illicit drug dealing, loitering, and undercover police surveillance since the 1990s.[39] In 2000, the city temporarily shut the store down for several months after recovering stolen electronics, ammunition, and materials for illicit drugs inside Cup Foods–leading to a constant police presence around the property.[40]

On May 25, 2020, a 9-1-1 call from an employee at Cup Foods led to the fatal encounter between George Floyd and the Minneapolis police. The employee reported that Floyd had paid using a suspected counterfeit $20 bill. Derek Chauvin and three other police officers arrived in response, and they arrested and detained Floyd. During the arrest, Chauvin pinned Floyd by his neck on the ground for 9 minutes and 29 seconds while as he struggled to breathe and died.[41][42] Several bystanders attempted to intervene unsuccessfully, but several captured video footage on their cellphones.[43][44] Cup Foods closed temporarily during the George Floyd protests in Minneapolis–Saint Paul and unrest in mid 2020, but re-opened in August 2020.[16][40] The store changed its name to Unity Foods in 2023.[45]

George Floyd Global Memorial[edit]

George Floyd Global Memorial is a 501(c)3 organization in Minneapolis with a headquarters' office on the 3500 block of Chicago Avenue. The organization acts as a curator of the demonstrator-installed art exhibits at George Floyd Square. Its mission is to inventory, collect, and preserve the public art installations and the approximately 5,000 offerings that were left by visitors at the square.[19][46][47]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "RCA-2022-00460 - Commemorative street name change: Council President Andrea Jenkins, Chicago Ave between 37th St E and 39th St E". Retrieved May 23, 2022.
  2. ^ a b Bornhoft, William (April 18, 2022). "Minneapolis Seeks To 'Re-Envision' Site Of George Floyd Killing". Retrieved April 18, 2022.
  3. ^ Seavert, Lindsey (February 15, 2017). "Ask KARE: How did Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis get its name?". KARE-TV. Retrieved May 23, 2022.
  4. ^ "About | 38th & Chicago – South Minneapolis – We know you like family". Retrieved April 22, 2021.
  5. ^ "38th Street and Chicago Avenue Small Area / Corridor Framework Plan". Retrieved April 22, 2021.
  6. ^ Levenson, Eric (March 29, 2021). "Former officer knelt on George Floyd for 9 minutes and 29 seconds -- not the infamous 8:46". CNN. Retrieved March 29, 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. ^ Hill, Evan; Tiefenthäler, Ainara; Triebert, Christiaan; Jordan, Drew; Willis, Haley; Stein, Robin (June 1, 2020). "How George Floyd Was Killed in Police Custody". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
  8. ^ Burks, Megan; Nguyen, Christine T.; Frost, Evan (November 25, 2020). "The call for justice at 38th and Chicago persists". Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved November 25, 2020.
  9. ^ Nebehay, Stephanie (November 9, 2020). "U.S. criticized for police brutality, racism at U.N. rights review". Reuters. Retrieved November 25, 2020.
  10. ^ Griswold, David (June 20, 2021). "Traffic resumes at George Floyd Square". KARE-TV. Retrieved June 21, 2021.
  11. ^ a b "George Floyd Square, Uptown Intersection Reopen To Traffic". WCCO-TV. June 20, 2021. Retrieved June 21, 2021.
  12. ^ Du, Susan (March 15, 2021). "In Minneapolis, business owners in George Floyd Square plead for safety". Star Tribune. Archived from the original on March 15, 2021. Retrieved March 15, 2021.
  13. ^ Burks, Megan (December 11, 2020). "George Floyd's Square offers an alternative to police — though not all neighbors want one". MPR News. Archived from the original on January 5, 2021. Retrieved December 14, 2020.
  14. ^ "2 injured in shooting near George Floyd Square, MPD says". KMSP. March 20, 2022. Retrieved March 20, 2022.
  15. ^ a b Du, Susan (April 23, 2022). "What's next for George Floyd Square? City cautiously undertakes public engagement process". Star Tribune. Retrieved April 23, 2022.
  16. ^ a b Otárola, Miguel (August 4, 2020). "Cup Foods, site where George Floyd was killed, reopens in south Minneapolis". Star Tribune.
  17. ^ Shortal, Jana (May 12, 2022). "'Transform our reputation': Twin Cities leaders launch effort to address racial disparities". KARE-TV. Retrieved May 23, 2022.
  18. ^ "38th Street and Chicago Avenue". City of Minneapolis. November 12, 2020. Retrieved November 25, 2020.
  19. ^ a b Jokich, Alex (October 21, 2021). "Hundreds gather for tribute on George Floyd's 48th birthday". KSTP-TV. Archived from the original on October 29, 2021. Retrieved October 21, 2021.
  20. ^ "METRO D Line Update- December 2020". Metropolitan Council (Press release). December 2, 2020. Archived from the original on December 2, 2020. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  21. ^ a b Du, Susan (May 25, 2021). "The Cossroads of Minneapolis". Star Tribune. Archived from the original on May 24, 2021. Retrieved May 24, 2021.
  22. ^ Ibrahim, Mohamed (March 5, 2021). "Officer's trial could reopen intersection where Floyd died". Associated Press. Archived from the original on March 7, 2021. Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  23. ^ Staff (August 6, 2020). "Minneapolis Police: Infant Dies One Month After Pregnant Woman Is Fatally Shot; Father Charged In Both Deaths". WCCO-TV. Archived from the original on March 8, 2021. Retrieved August 6, 2020.
  24. ^ Hyatt, Kim; Furst, Randy (March 8, 2021). "Two people injured, one killed in rash of weekend shootings in Minneapolis". Star Tribune. Archived from the original on March 11, 2021. Retrieved March 8, 2021.
  25. ^ Walsh, Paul (March 19, 2022). "Authorities ID man who was shot to death in his home near George Floyd Square in south Minneapolis". Star Tribune. Retrieved March 19, 2022.
  26. ^ Wermus, Katie (August 7, 2022). "Minneapolis police investigating fatal shooting near George Floyd Square". KMSP-TV. Retrieved August 7, 2022.
  27. ^ "One dead, another injured in shooting near George Floyd Square in Minneapolis". Star Tribune. August 14, 2022. Retrieved August 14, 2022.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  28. ^ Blume, Paul (June 23, 2022). "Questions remain after federal authorities dismiss charges in 'carjacking' case". KMSP-TV. Retrieved June 23, 2022.
  29. ^ "People from all over the world have visited George Floyd Square". Retrieved May 26, 2022.
  30. ^ Ross, Janell; Bates, Josiah. "The Uncertain Future of George Floyd Square". Time. Retrieved May 26, 2022.
  31. ^ "Getting things right at George Floyd Square". Star Tribune. Retrieved April 29, 2022.
  32. ^ Medcalf, Myron (July 21, 2021). "Changes to George Floyd Square threaten to minimize memory, scrub history". Star Tribune. Retrieved May 26, 2022.
  33. ^ "Evening Exploration: Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center". Preserve Minneapolis. Retrieved May 25, 2022.
  34. ^ Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center (2020). "3749 Chicago Avenue, Minneapolis". Archived from the original on January 25, 2021. Retrieved April 28, 2021.
  35. ^ Alicia Eler, Alicia Eler (January 22, 2021). "Steps from George Floyd Square, this arts center was forged in community". Star Tribune. Retrieved January 22, 2021.
  36. ^ Sabrowsky, Helen (March 8, 2020). "Playing with fire". Southwest Journal. Retrieved April 28, 2021.
  37. ^ Sidner, Sara (April 10, 2021). "Inside Cup Foods, where it seems George Floyd never left". CNN. Retrieved April 10, 2021.
  38. ^ a b Ismail, Aymann (October 6, 2020). "The Store That Called the Cops on George Floyd Is Facing a Painful Reckoning". Slate Magazine. Retrieved April 24, 2021.
  39. ^ Bogel-Burroughs, Nicholas; Healy, Jack (June 15, 2020). "Cup Foods, a Minneapolis Corner Store Forever Tied to the Death of George Floyd". The New York Times. Retrieved June 17, 2020.
  40. ^ a b Pruni, Analise (August 12, 2020). "CUP Foods: Good neighbor or bad?". Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.
  41. ^ Forliti, Amy; Karnowski, Steve; Webber, Tammy (April 5, 2021). "Police chief: Kneeling on Floyd's neck violated policy". Star Tribune. Associated Press. Archived from the original on April 10, 2021. Retrieved April 8, 2021.
  42. ^ Levenson, Eric (March 29, 2021). "Former officer knelt on George Floyd for 9 minutes and 29 seconds -- not the infamous 8:46". CNN. Archived from the original on March 29, 2021. Retrieved March 29, 2021.
  43. ^ McGreal, Chris (April 20, 2021). "Derek Chauvin found guilty of George Floyd's murder". The Guardian. Retrieved April 20, 2021.
  44. ^ "George Floyd: What happened in the final moments of his life". BBC News. May 30, 2020. Archived from the original on June 5, 2020. Retrieved June 1, 2020.
  45. ^ Ermon, Brittney (March 15, 2023). "City of Minneapolis aims to give George Floyd Square businesses more support amid hardships". KSTP-TV. Retrieved March 16, 2023.
  46. ^ "GEORGE FLOYD GLOBAL MEMORIAL - About GFGM". Retrieved May 25, 2022.
  47. ^ Rao, Maya; Mahamud, Faiza; Du, Susan (May 25, 2022). "Two years later, Minnesotans gather to remember George Floyd". Star Tribune. Retrieved May 26, 2022.

External links[edit]