The Summer of 2020 George Floyd and the Resurgence of the Black Lives Matter Movement

Andre E. Johnson

In the wake of George Floyd’s murder in May 2020, protests broke out in Minneapolis and quickly spread across the United States. National unrest led to the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement and added to calls for justice in other American cities, including Los Angeles, Atlanta, Tulsa, and Louisville, Kentucky, where only months earlier, Breonna Taylor was killed by police. By some estimates, BLM protesters numbered between fifteen million and twenty-six million in the US and abroad.

The Summer of 2020: George Floyd and the Resurgence of the Black Lives Matter Movement spotlights the perspectives of individual participants who contributed to the movement’s revived impact and global success throughout 2020. Authors Andre E. Johnson and Amanda Nell Edgar interview the movement’s activists—from seasoned organizers to first-time protesters—to discover what Black Lives Matter meant to those who participated in one of America’s largest social movements. Johnson and Edgar’s fieldwork reveals the complexity of taking a stand, especially in the face of increasing threats from white supremacist groups, continuing police aggression, and a persisting global pandemic.

In a time with unprecedented levels of political polarization, the wave of support for the Black Lives Matter movement powerfully disrupted that expectation. Without a clear sense of what led to the surge in support for Black Lives Matter, racial justice advocates are left ill-equipped to maintain and harness the political momentum necessary to achieve lasting equity and justice. In delving beyond a conventional focus on leaders and figureheads, this volume bolsters social movement research by accounting for the increasing numbers of Black Lives Matter supporters and demonstrators and the lasting power of their message.

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