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America reckons with racial injustice: How we got to this point in history

George Floyd’s death sparked protests across the U.S. this summer, but activists say the movement had roots that went back much further.
Credit: AP Photo/Elaine Thompson
Demonstrators fill a downtown street Monday, June 1, 2020, in Seattle, following protests over the weekend over the death of George Floyd, a black man who was in police custody in Minneapolis.

Protests erupted after the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, but activists and race educators say Floyd’s death was just one instance in a long history of racial injustice in America.

“What happened with George Floyd is in some ways a metaphor for what we have experienced since we were brought here in chains – that we can’t breathe,” said Dr. Caprice Hollins, a race educator in Seattle.

As America reckons with its racist past amid current unrest, we look back not just at the last four months but the last 400 years.

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This story was produced as part of “Facing Race,” a KING 5 series that examines racism, social justice and racial inequality in the Pacific Northwest. Tune in to KING 5 on Sundays at 9:30 p.m. to watch live and catch up on our coverage here.