Miss Jack Yates 1952 pays special tribute to George Floyd on the anniversary of his death

It was on this day a year ago that Houston’s own George Floyd was slowly killed as a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into his neck. As America remembers Floyd, Houston is also having several remembrance services in his honor, including two in Cuney Homes where Floyd grew up.       

As a kid, he played there in Third Ward and now as a man, posthumously, George Floyd is bringing swarms of people together. A United States Member of Congress Sheila Jackson Lee, for instance, is in Cuney Homes hosting a balloon release in George Floyd's name. 

Just down the street, across the street from Yates High School where Floyd graduated now sits a park with a memorial honoring Floyd. 

"It has been gratifying this morning to see so many people coming and going. You know, he said I can’t breathe, mama, and that’s what really touched me," says Gertrude Stone, who was Miss Jack Yates 1952. 


Stone never met Mr. Floyd but she bought the land specifically to put up the tribute for her fellow Yates Lion. 

"I finished in ’52. He finished in ’93. 41 years apart," Mrs. Stone smiles.  

"He was a nice kid, you know," says Maurice McGowan, who was Floyd’s high school football coach. "This is the 1992 state finalist ring, the team that George played on. He gave me this ring," smiles McGowan while holding up his hand to show the ring.


On this day, the one year anniversary of George Floyd’s death, flocks of folks are stopping by the park to pay their respects as a computer lab is being dedicated by Houston City Council Member Carolyn Evans-Shabazz in Cuney Homes in George Floyd's name. So many people coming together, uniting like many have never seen before. 

"I’m an old person and I’ve seen a lot of Blacks killed and heard a lot of what we’re going to do, but we never get to it. This (uniting) has been going on for a while and I just hope it keeps going," says McGowan.  

Meanwhile, Mrs. Stone realizes she graduated on this day, May 25, 1952, 69 years ago. She can’t help but believe that’s no coincidence and says she was meant to be here to spread a message of peace. She hopes her words will be taken to heart and practiced. 

"You know, we don’t love one another like we should. We should have love in our hearts for each other. We are too hard on each other. Man’s inhumanity to man. It took a man to do this to another man. That’s almost unthinkable. We have to love one another," says Mrs. Stone.