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George Read - History

George Read - History


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Read, George

George Read was born in 1733 in Cecil County Maryland. He grew up in New Castle, Delaware, however, and attended school in Pennsylvania. At the age of fifteen he began reading law in with a lawyer in Philadelphia. He was admitted to the bar in 1753, and opened his own practice in New Castle the following year.

Read became involved in the Patriot cause when he was serving as crown attorney general for present day Delaware and protested against the Stamp Act. He began to serve on the colonial legislature in 1765, and earned himself a reputation as a moderate. From 1774 until 1777, he attended the Continental Congress. He returned to state politics in this same year, and began a term as speaker of the legislative council. In 1786 he was present at the Constitutional Convention where he proved to be quite diligent in pushing for ratification. Delaware was, in fact, the first state to ratify the Constitution. Later, from 1789-1793, Read was elected to the U. S. Senate. He died in New Castle in 1798 at the age of sixty-five and was buried in the Immanuel Episcopal Churchyard.


George Read - History

September 18, 1733 - September 21, 1798

George Read, the son of John and Mary Howell Read, was born in North East, MD on September 18, 1733. His father was a landholder of means and his mother was the daughter of a Welsh planter. The family moved to New Castle, DE when George was young. He later attended school in Chester, PA, as well as the Rev. Francis Alison's Academy at New London, PA. At the age of 15, he started reading with a Philadelphia lawyer.

In 1753, Read was admitted to the bar, and he began his own practice in Philadelphia. The following year, he journeyed back to New Castle and started a practice in his home town. In 1763, he married Gertrude Ross Till, the widowed sister of George Ross, like Read a future signer of the Declaration of Independence. They had three sons and a daughter.

While serving as the Crown Attorney General from 1763-74, he protested actively against the Stamp Act. In 1765, he began a career in the colonial legislature, which lasted more than a decade.

Read voted against independence on July 2, 1776. He was the only signer of the Declaration to do so, apparently either bowing to the strong Tory sentiment in Delaware, or believing reconciliation with Britain was still possible. It was his opposition to independence that caused "Thomas McKean" to call "Caesar Rodney" back to Philadephia to insure Delaware went on record for independence from England.


Signature of George Read from the Declaration of Independence

Read became the speaker of the Delaware Legislative Council in the same year, which in effect made him the Vice President (Lt. Governor) of the State. During the fall of 1777, the British took over Wilmington, DE and captured Delaware's President, "John McKinly . Since George Read was away in Philadelphia attending meetings of the Congress, "Thomas McKean" , speaker of the lower house of Delaware, took over as acting President (Governor). This lasted only for a month until George Read returned from Philadelphia and took over the seat. He remained in the office until March 31, 1778, at which time "Caesar Rodney" was voted in as the 4th Delaware President.

Again, Read became an active member of the Delaware Legislative Council until 1779, when he had to retire due to health reasons. In 1782, he returned to the Legislative Council and served until 1788. He was a delagate to the Annapolis Convention held in 1786. He was also a member of the Constitutional Convention held in Philadephia in 1787, where he championed the rights of the small states.


Read History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Read surname is derived from the Old English word "read," meaning "red." It is most likely that the name was used as nickname for someone with red hair, before becoming their surname. In other instances, the Read surname no doubt came from some of the places so named in Britain, such as Read, Lancashire, Rede, Suffolk, and Reed in Hertfordshire.

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Early Origins of the Read family

The surname Read was first found in Northumberland where they held a family seat from early times. One branch was found at Troughend-Ward. "The present house was built in the last century (c. 1700) by EIrington Reed, Esq., who also greatly improved the place by planting, and whose ancestors were settled in the township at a remote date. " [1]

Another branch of the family was found at Weston in Suffolk. " Weston Hall, the ancient seat of the family of Rede, a handsome mansion in the Elizabethan style, was partly taken down within a few years, and the remainder converted into a farmhouse." [1]

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Early History of the Read family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Read research. Another 116 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1758, 1600, 1385, 1415, 1502, 1511, 1579, 1609, 1692, 1692, 1721, 1519, 1593, 1683, 1620, 1644, 1541, 1551, 1795, 1866 and are included under the topic Early Read History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Read Spelling Variations

Although the name, Read, appeared in many references, from time to time, the surname was shown with the spellings Read, Reid, Reed, Reede, Redd, Reade and others.

Early Notables of the Read family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family name during their early history was William Rede or Reade (died 1385), Bishop of Chichester, a native of the diocese of Exeter Robert Reed (died 1415), Bishop of Waterford and Lismore, Bishop of Carlisle and Bishop of Chichester Sir John Reid of Barruck Bartholomew Rede, Lord Mayor of London in 1502 Sir Richard Rede (1511-1579), English Master of Requests, came of a family settled at Nether Wallop in Hampshire Sir John Read, of Wrangle was Sheriff of the County of Lincoln in 1609. Wilmot Redd (Read, Reed) (died September 22, 1692), was one of the victims of the.
Another 121 words (9 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Read Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Read family to Ireland

Some of the Read family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 116 words (8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Read migration +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Read Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • James Read who settled in Virginia in 1607
  • Anthony Read, who landed in Virginia in 1623 [2]
  • Anthony Read who settled in Virginia in 1623
  • Ellianor Read, who landed in Virginia in 1629 [2]
  • George Read, aged 6, who landed in New England in 1635 [2]
  • . (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Read Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Ely Read who settled in Virginia in 1725
  • Anne Read who settled in Virginia in 1738
  • Delahay Read, who arrived in St Christopher in 1760 [2]
  • Mary Read who settled in Virginia in 1774
  • Andrew Read, who arrived in New York in 1784 [2]
Read Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

Read migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Read Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • James Read, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • David Read, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Mr. Moses Read U.E. born in Norwalk, Connecticut, USA who settled in Ontario, Canada c. 1784 married to Rebecca Pratt having 1 child, he died in 1802 [3]
  • Major. William Read U.E. (b. 1748) born in Donagel, Ireland from Georgia, USA who settled in Manchester Township, Guysborough County, Nova Scotia c. 1784, then resettled in Hinchinbrook, Châteauguay Valley, Montreal in 1794, then moved to Elizabeth Town [Elizabethtown], Leeds County, Ontario in 1796, in 1801 he moved to Frankville [Elizabeth-Kitley], Leeds and Greenville where he remained married to Agnes (Nancy) Russell having 11 children, he died in 1828 [3]
Read Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • James Read, aged 38, an engineer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the barque "Charlotte Lungan" from Liverpool, England
  • Ephraim Read, who arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1864

Read migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Read Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Miss Elizabeth Read, (b. 1783), aged 30, Irish convict who was convicted in Dublin, Ireland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Catherine" on 8th December 1813, arriving in New South Wales, Australia[4]
  • Miss Mary Read, (Reid, Reed), (b. 1774), aged 39, Irish house keeper who was convicted in County Mayo, Ireland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Catherine" on 8th December 1813, arriving in New South Wales, Australia[4]
  • W.W. Read, a blacksmith, who arrived in Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania) sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • Mr. George Read, British Convict who was convicted in Suffolk, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Asia" on 20th July 1837, arriving in New South Wales, Australia[5]
  • Mr. Michael Read, British Convict who was convicted in Suffolk, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Asia" on 20th July 1837, arriving in New South Wales, Australia[5]
  • . (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Read migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Read Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Henry Read, aged 27, a smith, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Aurora" in 1840
  • Caroline Read, aged 28, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Aurora" in 1840
  • John Read, aged 35, a farm labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Birman" in 1842
  • Prudence Read, aged 38, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Birman" in 1842
  • Mr. Henry Read, Cornish settler travelling from Launceston, UK aboard the ship "Brothers" arriving in New Zealand in 1850 [6]
  • . (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Read (post 1700) +

  • Richard Read (b. 1957), American Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist
  • Samuel Read (1815-1883), English water-colour painter, born at Needham Market, Suffolk
  • Sir Herbert Edward Read (1893-1968), English anarchist poet, and critic of literature and art
  • David Charles Read (1790-1851), English painter and etcher, born at Boldre, near Lymington, Hampshire
  • Catherine Read (b. 1778), English portrait-painter who was for some years a fashionable artist in London, working in oils, crayons, and miniature
  • Benedict William Read (1945-2016), English art historian, son of the art critic and poet Sir Herbert Read
  • Sir John Read, English executive, chairman of EMI Group in the 1970s
  • Leonard Ernest "Nipper" Read QPM (1925-2020), British police officer and boxing administrator, best known for the convictions of Ronnie and Reggie Kray, East End of London criminals inspiration for the 2015 biopic film Legend about the twins
  • Mr. Timothy William Read C.B.E., British Universal Credit Delivery Manager for the Business Transformation Group for the Department for Work and Pensions, was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire on 8th June 2018, for services to Welfare Reform [7]
  • Richard Tuohill Read (d. 1883), Irish jurist, son of Herbert Reid of Killarney
  • . (Another 24 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Historic Events for the Read family +

HMS Cornwall
  • Arthur William Read (d. 1942), British Able Seaman aboard the HMS Cornwall when she was struck by air bombers and sunk he died in the sinking [8]
  • Alfred Rupert Read (d. 1942), British Ordinary Seaman aboard the HMS Cornwall when she was struck by air bombers and sunk he died in the sinking [8]
HMS Hood
  • Mr. Douglas Read (b. 1923), English Boy 1st Class serving for the Royal Navy from Portchester, Fareham, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [9]
  • Mr. Anthony V Read (b. 1923), English Ordinary Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Southampton, Hampshire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [9]
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. James Frederick Read, British Stoker 2ne Class, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and died in the sinking [10]
HMS Royal Oak
  • Reginald Victor Read (d. 1939), British Petty Officer Stoker with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk he died in the sinking [11]
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. Joseph Read, aged 21, English Trimmer from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking [12]

Related Stories +

The Read Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Pax copia
Motto Translation: Peace, plenty.


Background Check: Investigating George Floyd’s Criminal Record

Snopes also has in-depth reporting on the background of Derek Chauvin, one of four former police officers charged in the case surrounding George Floyd’s death. Read that report here.

As cities worldwide erupted in protests over the death of George Floyd — a Black man who died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for about nine minutes in Minneapolis — the leader of that city’s police federation sent the below-displayed email to union members. In it, he criticized journalists’ and politicians’ portrayal of the man whose death had sparked a global reckoning over racism in policing.

“What is not being told is the violent criminal history of George Floyd,” said former Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) Lt. Bob Kroll, who represented more than 800 police officers at the time of Floyd’s death. “The media will not air this.”

The June 1, 2020, letter by Kroll, whom Snopes could not reach for this report and retired in early 2021, inspired a wave of claims online about Floyd’s alleged arrests and incarcerations before his death — mostly among people who seemed to be searching for evidence that either the actions by the Minneapolis police officer who choked Floyd were justified, or memorials to honor him were unnecessary.

Among the most popular claims were those by the right-wing commentator Candace Owens, who, in a roughly 18-minute video that’s been viewed more than 6 million times, made several accusations about Floyd’s past and the events that led to his death. She said:

No one thinks that he should have died in his arrest, but what I find despicable to be is that everyone is pretending that this man lived a heroic lifestyle when he didn’t. …I refuse to accept the narrative that this person is a martyr or should be lifted up in the black community. …He has a rap sheet that is long, that is dangerous. He is an example of a violent criminal his entire life — up until the very last moment.”

She claimed reporters had wrongly interpreted Floyd’s death to the public by purposefully omitting details about his past unlawful behavior, and she falsely and inappropriately called police brutality a “myth” and part of some nefarious scheme by news media to polarize Americans before the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

That video, as well as misleading photographs, memes like the one displayed below, and sensationalized tabloid stories about Floyd’s past, prompted numerous inquiries to Snopes from people wondering if he had indeed served time in jail or prison before his death at age 46.

The claims in this meme are a mixture of true and false, as we’ll document below. In brief, the alleged crimes and time periods are mostly accurate, with the caveat that Floyd was convicted of theft in 1998, not armed robbery. But the following information makes other aspects of the post misleading: Not all the crimes resulted in prison time, but rather jail sentences no evidence suggests a woman involved in the 2007 charge was pregnant it’s an exaggeration of toxicology results to claim Floyd “was high on meth” when he was choked by a cop, and there’s no proof that Floyd was “getting ready to drive a car” before his fatal encounter with police other than the fact that officers say they approached him as he sat in the driver’s seat of a vehicle.

What follows is everything we know about crimes committed by Floyd — who was born in North Carolina, lived most of his life in Houston and moved to Minneapolis in 2014 — based on court records and police accounts to fulfill those requests. Additionally, this report explores the following:

  • Did Floyd’s past arrests and incarcerations have any effect on police officers’ actions during the 911 call that led to his death?
  • Was he “high on meth” when he was choked by the Minneapolis cop and died, like the above-displayed meme claims?
  • How will Floyd’s criminal record and autopsy toxicology results play a role in the murder trials for the police officers charged in his death?
  • Why do some people draw attention to the criminal histories of non-white people killed by police?

We should note at the outset that attorney Ben Crump , who represents Floyd’s family, did not respond to Snopes’ multiple requests for comment, and when we reached an MPD spokesman by phone for this report, he requested an email interview but did not complete it.

Also, we should make clear that four officers involved in Floyd’s death, including the cop who knelt on his neck, were fired from MPD and have been criminally charged (details below).

Police Arrested Floyd a Total of 9 Times, Mostly on Drug and Theft Charges

According to court records in Harris County, which encompasses Floyd’s hometown of Houston, authorities arrested him on nine separate occasions between 1997 and 2007, mostly on drug and theft charges that resulted in months-long jail sentences.

But before we get into the specifics of those cases, first, some biographical details, per The Associated Press (AP): Floyd was the son of a single mother, who moved to Houston from North Carolina when he was a toddler so she could find work. They settled in what’s called “Cuney Homes,” a low-income public housing complex of more than 500 apartments in the city’s predominately Black Third Ward. As a teen, Floyd was a star football and basketball player for Jake Yates High School, and later he played basketball for two years at a Florida community college. After that, in 1995, he spent one year at Texas A&M University in Kingsville before returning to his mother’s Cuney apartment in Houston to find jobs in construction and security.

Another piece of important context while exploring how, and under what circumstances, police arrested Floyd in the late 1990s and early 2000s when he lived in Cuney Homes: On multiple occasions, police would make sweeps through the complex and end up detaining a large number of men, including Floyd, a neighborhood friend named Tiffany Cofield told the AP. Additionally, Texas has one of the highest incarceration rates in the country, per the Prison Policy Initiative, and several studies show authorities are way more likely to target Black Texans for arrests than white residents.

As to the details of Floyd’s arrests, the first occurred on Aug. 2, 1997, when he was almost 23 years old. According to prosecutors, police in that case caught him delivering less than one gram of cocaine to someone else, so they sentenced him to about six months in jail. Then, the following year, authorities arrested and charged Floyd with theft on two separate occasions (on Sept. 25, 1998, and Dec. 9, 1998), sentencing him to a total of 10 months and 10 days in jail.


Then, about three years later (on Aug. 29, 2001), Floyd was sentenced to 15 days in jail for “failure to identify to a police officer,” court documents say. In other words, he allegedly didn’t give his name, address or birth date to a cop who was arresting him for reasons that are unknown (the court records don’t say why police were questioning him in the first place) and requesting that personal information.

Between 2002 and 2005, police arrested and charged Floyd for another four crimes: for having less than one gram of cocaine on him (on Oct. 29, 2002) for criminal trespassing (on Jan. 3, 2003) for intending to give less than one gram of cocaine to someone else (on Feb. 6, 2004) and for again having less than one gram of cocaine in his possession (on Dec. 15, 2005). He was sentenced to about 30 months in jail, total, for those crimes.

Lastly, in 2007, authorities arrested and charged Floyd with his most serious crime: aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon.

According to police officers’ probable-cause statement, which is often the basis of prosecutors’ case against suspects, the incident (on Aug. 9, 2007) unfolded like this: Two adults, Aracely Henriquez and Angel Negrete, and a toddler were in a home when they heard a knock at the front door. When Henriquez looked out the window, she saw a man “dressed in a blue uniform” who said “he was with the water department.” But when she opened the door, she realized the man was telling a lie and she tried shutting him out. Then, the statement reads:

However, this male held the door open and prevented her from doing so. At this time, a black Ford Explorer pulled up in front of the Complainants’ residence and five other black males exited this vehicle and proceeded to the front door. The largest of these suspects forced his way into the residence, placed a pistol against the complainant’s abdomen, and forced her into the living room area of the residence. This large suspect then proceeded to search the residence while another armed suspect guarded the complainant, who was struck in the head and side areas by this second armed suspect with his pistol after she screamed for help. As the suspects looked through the residence, they demanded to know where the drugs and money were and Complaint Henriquez advised them that there were no such things in the residence. The suspects then took some jewelry along with the complainant’s cell phone before they fled the scene in the black Ford Explorer.

About three months later, investigators in the Houston Police Department narcotics unit “came across this vehicle during one of the their respective investigations and identified the following subjects as occupants of this vehicle at the time of their investigation: George Floyd (Driver)…,” the statement reads.

At 6-foot-7, Floyd was identified as the “the largest” of the six suspects who arrived at the home in the Ford Explorer and had pushed a pistol against Henriquez’ abdomen before looking for items to steal. (Nothing in the court documents suggests she was pregnant at the time of the robbery, contrary to what memes and Owens later claimed.) He pleaded guilty in 2009 and was sentenced to five years in prison. He was paroled in January 2013, when he was almost 40 years old.

We Don’t Know If MPD Officers Knew of Floyd’s Past Arrests and Incarcerations

But to fully explore this, we’ll lay out what happened on May 25, 2020. Around 8 p.m., someone inside a South Minneapolis convenience store called police to report that a man had used a $20 counterfeit bill to buy cigarettes, and then he ran outside to a vehicle parked nearby. The caller did not identify Floyd by name, according to the 911 transcript.

But here are some details about that call we learned after Floyd’s death: The owner of the store, Mahmoud Abumayyaleh, told NPR that clerks are trained to let management know when someone uses counterfeit money, and the workers try to handle the crime themselves without cops, unless things escalate to violence. But in Floyd’s case, Abumayyaleh said a teenage clerk who had only been employed for six months called 911, essentially implying the worker had not fully understood their protocol. Additionally, the owner said Floyd had been a regular customer for about a year, and he never caused any issues.

According to court documents, t wo MPD officers — Thomas Lane and J. A. Kueng — responded to the 911 call and, after talking to people inside the store, went to find Floyd in a parked vehicle nearby.

As Lane began speaking with Floyd, who was sitting in the driver’s seat of the vehicle, the officer pulled his gun out and instructed Floyd to show his hands. Floyd complied with the order, whereupon the officer holstered his gun. Then, Lane ordered Floyd out of the car and “put his hands on Floyd, and pulled him out of the car,” and handcuffed him, according to prosecutors. Then, charging documents state:

Mr. Floyd walked with Lane to the sidewalk and sat on the ground at Lane’s direction. When Mr. Floyd sat down he said “thank you man” and was calm. In a conversation that lasted just under two minutes, Lane asked Mr. Floyd for his name and identification. Lane asked Mr. Floyd if he was “on anything” and noted there was foam at the edges of his mouth. Lane explained that he was arresting Mr. Floyd for passing counterfeit currency.

At 8:14 p.m., Officers Lane and Kueng stood Mr. Floyd up and attempted to walk Mr. Floyd to their squad car. As the officers tried to put Mr. Floyd in their squad car, Mr. Floyd stiffened up and fell to the ground. Mr. Floyd told the officers that he was not resisting but did not want to get in the back seat and was claustrophobic.

At that point, two other officers — Derek Chauvin and Tou Thao — arrived at the scene and tried again to get Floyd into a squad car. While they attempted to do so, he began asserting that he could not breathe. Then, according to criminal charges against Chauvin, the officer pulled Floyd out of the squad car, and “Mr. Floyd went to the ground face down and still handcuffed.” The complaint continues:

Officer Kueng held Mr. Floyd’s back and Officer Lane held his legs. Officer Chauvin placed his left knee in the area of Mr. Floyd’s head and neck. Mr. Floyd said, ‘I can’t breathe’ multiple times and repeatedly said, ‘Mama’ and ‘please,’ as well. At one point, Mr. Floyd said ‘I’m about to die.’

A Minnesota judge released footage from Lane and Kueng’s body cameras in early August 2020 — new evidence that showed their attempts to put Floyd into the squad car, and his repeated requests for the officers to consider his health. The videos also showed Chauvin kept Floyd pinned to the ground and knelt on his neck for about nine minutes, including for nearly three minutes after Floyd became non-responsive.

Then, per emergency medical technicians’ and fire department personnel’s accounts of the incident, medics loaded Floyd into an ambulance, where they used a mechanical chest compression device on Floyd, though he did not regain a pulse and his condition did not change.

It’s unclear whether at any point before or during the call the MPD officers knew of Floyd’s past arrests in Texas and, if so, whether that information at all influenced how they acted, consciously or subconsciously. MPD spokespeople did not respond to Snopes’ questions about the officers’ prior knowledge of Floyd before the call from the convenience store, nor did the department answer whether officers in general adjust their responses to 911 calls, or how they approach suspects, based on the criminal records of people involved.

Charging documents, police records and other court filings that lay out Floyd’s criminal history are all publicly available via the Harris County District Clerk online database. Additionally, according to MPD’s policy and procedure manual, which outlines everything from how officers should dress on the job to use-of-force guidelines, officers use a computerized dispatch system to handle 911 calls and often rely on computers in their squad cars to look up and document information.

All of that said, MPD Chief Medaria Arradondo said on June 10, 2020: “ There is nothing in that call that should have resulted in the outcome with Mr. Floyd’s death.”

It’s an Exaggeration of Toxicology Findings To Claim Floyd Was ‘High on Meth’ When He Died

In response to one of Owens’ claims — “ George Floyd at the time of his arrest was high on fentanyl and he was high on methamphetamine” — as well as assertions by social media users who seemed to be in search of proof for why the MPD officers acted the way they did, here we unpack the results of Floyd’s autopsy report.

The claim is two-pronged: that Floyd had meth in his system and that he was high on the drug when Chauvin knelt on his neck, choking him.

Firstly, on May 29, 2020, court documents revealed the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s investigation into Floyd’s death showed “no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxiation,” and that “potential intoxicants” and preexisting cardiovascular disease “likely contributed to his death.” (Note: Coronary artery disease and hypertension typically increase patients’ risk of stroke and heart attack over years, not minutes, and asphyxia, or suffocation, does not always leave physical signs, according to doctors.)

Two days later, the county released a statement that attributed Floyd’s cause of death to “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression” — which essentially means he died because his heart and lungs stopped while he was being restrained by police. That announcement came just hours after Floyd’s family released findings of a separate, private autopsy that determined Floyd had indeed died from a combination of Chauvin’s knee on his neck and pressure on his back from other the officers. (A copy of that autopsy with all of its details has not been made public.)

According to the county’s postmortem toxicology screening, which is summarized below and was performed one day after Floyd’s death, he was intoxicated with fentanyl and had recently used methamphetamines (as well as other substances) before Chauvin choked him.

More Specifically, Floyd tested positive for 11 ng/mL of fentanyl — which is a synthetic opioid pain reliever — and 19 ng/mL of methamphetamine, or meth, though it’s unclear by what method the intoxicants got into his bloodstream or for what reasons.

But more complex is proving whether “he was high” at the time of his fatal encounter with police. While everyone’s reaction to and tolerance for such drugs varies, and the effects of mixing drugs can be totally unpredictable, lab technicians say fentanyl slowly leaves users’ systems, mostly via urination, over the course of three days from when they first shot up. Additionally, they consider “the presence of fentanyl above 0.20 ng/mL” — which is significantly less than the amount found in Floyd’s system — to be “a strong indicator that the patient has used fentanyl,” according to Mayo Clinic Laboratories.

For methamphetamines, which are typically smoked or injected, users feel an instant euphoria, and then the tapering effects of the drug last anywhere from eight to 24 hours. After that initial “rush,” the amount of meth reduces in their bloodstreams and tests for the drug can be positive for up to five days. Per the University of Rochester Medical Center, the amount of methamphetamines found in Floyd’s bloodstream (19 ng/mL or .019 mg/L) is “within the range” of some patients’ “therapeutic or prescribed use” of the drug.

Also, Hennepin County medical examiners stated Floyd’s blood levels made it seem like he had “recently” used meth in the past, not that he was peaking on a high from it, and the county investigators did not list the drugs as Floyd’s cause of death, but rather as “significant conditions” that influenced how he died. For those reasons and considering the amount of methamphetamines detected in Floyd’s toxicology report, it’s an exaggeration of the scientific evidence to claim Floyd “was high on meth” before police choked him — though his bloodstream did test positive for the drug.

But while making that analysis, it is important to consider the insight of a group of emergency room doctors and psychiatrists, who in the wake of Floyd’s death wrote in the Scientific American : “ When Black people are killed by police, their character and even their anatomy is turned into justification for their killer’s exoneration. It’s a well-honed tactic.”

Furthermore, a letter on behalf of thousands of Black doctors and health care workers in America titled “The ‘Collective Black Physicians’ Statement’ on the death of Mr. George Floyd” stated:

Any mention of potential intoxicants of which Mr. Floyd may have been under the influence is meritless at this stage of the physical autopsy examination. In a medicolegal autopsy, the results of a urinary toxicology screen are often inaccurate. All substances must be detected and confirmed in blood and/or particular organs before it can be said that an individual was intoxicated and that death is a complication of that toxicity.

Floyd’s Rap Sheet and Toxicology Results Are Likely To Play a Role in Officers’ Murder Trials

We can credit history for our conclusion on this point. For example, during the murder trial of George Zimmerman — who, though not a police officer, was eventually acquitted of homicide charges in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin , a Black teenager, in 2012 — reports of Martin’s alleged truancy and petty crimes made news headlines . Similarly, people called attention to the arrest record of Alton Sterling , a 37-year-old Black man who was shot and killed by a white police officer in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 2016, as his surviving relatives filed a wrongful death lawsuit against police and the city (which remains ongoing as of this writing).

In the latest high-profile case of deadly use of force by police, all four officers — Lane, Kueng, Chauvin and Thao — were fired from MPD the day after Floyd’s controversial killing and were criminally charged.

For 19-year MPD veteran Chauvin, 44, who faces the most severe charges of the four men, Hennepin County prosecutors initially charged him with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. But in early June, after Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz requested the state’s Attorney General Keith Ellison to take over the case, Ellison upgraded those charges so the ex-MPD officer now faces a more severe charge of second-degree murder, in addition to the original charges brought forth by county prosecutors. (Read that latest complaint here .) He made his first court appearance on June 8, 2020, which was mostly procedural, and was held on $1.25 million bail.

Meanwhile, Thao, Kueng and Lane face charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder while committing a felony, and with aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s killing. (You can read the full charges against Thao here Kueng here , and Lane here .) They made their first court appearances on June 4, 2020, where a judge set bail for each of them at $750,000 if they agreed to certain conditions, such as leaving law enforcement work and avoiding contact with Floyd’s family. One week later, Lane, 37, posted that amount and was freed from Hennepin County jail, and his attorney told the Star Tribune he was planning to file a motion to dismiss the charges.

As of this report, all four officers were scheduled to make their next court appearance June 29, 2020, and no court proceedings have focused on Floyd’s criminal history or drug use, with the exception of the charging documents that mention Hennepin County’s autopsy report and toxicology findings.

Why People Draw Attention to Criminal Histories of Black Men Who Die in Police Custody

For decades, corners of the internet and journalists have highlighted the criminal records of non-white people killed by authorities or caught in viral videos, no matter the relevancy of the rap sheets.

One of the uglier examples is the case of Charles Ramsey , a self-described “scary looking black dude” who helped rescue Amanda Berry, a Cleveland woman who had been kidnapped and held hostage for years in a home near Ramsey’s, in 2013. His interviews about the rescue spread like wildfire online, but then a local TV station aired a story on his criminal past (it was later removed and the station apologized ).

More similar to the case of Floyd are the above-mentioned examples of Sterling and Martin, Black men who died at the hands of police and a neighborhood watch volunteer, respectively, and whose histories were trotted out in news stories after they died, seemingly as part of an effort to deny them martyrdom.

Advocates for police reform say the pattern puts unjust blame on victims of police violence and distracts the public from the most important issue at the center of these incidents: Officers too often resort to violence when dealing with citizens, especially if they are Black, indigenous, or people of color.

Kevin O Cokley, a psychology professor at the University of Texas at Austin who studies police brutality against Black Americans, explained the psychology behind the media pattern in an email to Snopes. Of people calling attention to Floyd’s criminal past, specifically, he wrote:

It fits into what psychologists have called the just-world hypothesis , which is a cognitive bias where people believe that the world is just and orderly, and people get what they deserve. It is difficult for people to believe that bad things can happen to good people or to people who don’t deserve it. This is because if people know that these things do happen, they have to decide whether they want to do something about it or sit by silently knowing that there is injustice happening around them.

Furthermore, his colleague Richard Reddick , an associate dean in the university’s College of Education, told us in a phone interview the claims about Floyd were also a product of the era’s highly polarized media environment, compounded by years of problematic storytelling by politicians and reporters that portrays Black men only as “criminal entities” instead of nuanced people. He said:

This is something that Black men are subject to quite a bit — not often seen as complex, whole human beings, who have done wonderful things and not so great things in their lives, but simply a criminal. … This is something that seems to be very specific to Black men who are ex-judiciously murdered w e have to find a rationale, or excuse, or justification for it, no matter what it was.

In other words, he said, shifting the public narrative away from police officers’ actions and onto Floyd’s criminal history is a reoccurring communication strategy “that’s intended to make us not see him as a victim, to dehumanize him, and to make him a caricature.” People can subscribe to the “he had it coming” trope so they don’t have to feel sorry for the victim of police brutality and can deny police responsibility for their actions, Reddick said. He added:

I don’t trust the motivations of the folks bringing this forward. … Of course they’re asking, ‘Why isn’t [Floyd’s criminal history] covered in the major media?’ And it’s because it’s not relevant to this kind of story. What happened to George Floyd in Minneapolis has nothing to do with what happened to him, what he did, in 2007.

To that point, Reddick said Floyd’s past arrests and incarcerations may justifiably appear in “wholesome portraits” about Floyd’s life (such as this AP story), while O Cokley said the news media should not include the background in its stories about Floyd because it “has no relevance to the officer’s behavior,” and because “t here is no standardization of the inclusion of background information on stories involving victims of police misconduct.” Reddick summed up the phenomenon like this:

We shouldn’t conflate the complexity of a person’s life with an event that ended with their life being lost — those moments and that time is relevant, but not a criminal conviction from years prior because this is supposedly a country where, when you’ve served your sentence, you’re now able to go rebuild your life, as what he was trying to do.

In January 2013, after Floyd was paroled for the aggravated robbery, people who knew him said he returned to Houston’s Third Ward “with his head on right.” He organized events with local pastors, served as a mentor for people living in his public housing complex, and was affectionately called “Big Floyd” or “the O.G.” (original gangster) as a title of respect for someone who’d learned from his experiences. Then in 2014, Floyd, a father of five, decided to move to Minneapolis to find a new job and start a new chapter.

“The world knows George Floyd, I know Perry Jr.,” said Kathleen McGee , his aunt (in reference to her nickname for Floyd), at his funeral on June 9, 2020. “He was a pesky little rascal, but we all loved him.”


Contents

George Foreman was born in Marshall, Texas. He grew up in the Fifth Ward community of Houston, Texas, with six siblings. [13] Although he was raised by J. D. Foreman, whom his mother had married when George was a small child, his biological father was Leroy Moorehead. By his own admission in his autobiography, George was a troubled youth. He dropped out of school at the age of 15 and spent time as a mugger. At age 16, Foreman had a change of heart and convinced his mother to sign him up for the Job Corps after seeing an ad for the Corps on TV. As part of the Job Corps, Foreman earned his GED and trained to become a carpenter and bricklayer. [14] After moving to Pleasanton, California, with the help of a supervisor, he began to train. Foreman was interested in football and idolized Jim Brown, but gave it up for boxing. [ citation needed ]

1968 Summer Olympics Edit

Foreman won a gold medal in the boxing/heavyweight division at the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games. In the finals, Foreman defeated the Soviet Union's Jonas Čepulis the referee stopped the fight in the second round. [15] Čepulis' face was already bleeding in the first round from Foreman's punches, and had to take a standing eight count early in the second round. [16] Čepulis, fighting out of Lithuania, was a 29-year-old veteran with a 12-year-long amateur career, having over 220 fights in his record, quite experienced, and 10 years older than Foreman. [17]

  • Round of 16: defeated Lucjan Trela (Poland) on points, 4–1
  • Quarterfinal: defeated Ion Alexe (Romania) referee stopped contest, 3rd round
  • Semifinal: defeated Giorgio Bambini (Italy) by a second-round knockout
  • Final: defeated Jonas Čepulis (Soviet Union) referee stopped contest, second round

After winning the gold-medal fight, Foreman walked around the ring carrying a small U.S. flag and bowing to the crowd. [15] [16] Foreman maintained that earning the Olympic gold medal was the achievement he was most proud of in his boxing career, more so than either of his world titles. [14]

Amateur accomplishments Edit

  • He won his first amateur fight on January 26, 1967, by a first-round knockout in the Parks Diamond Belt Tournament. [18]
  • He won the San Francisco Examiner's Golden Gloves Tournament in the Junior Division in February 1967. [18]
  • In February 1967, he knocked out Thomas Cook to win the Las Vegas Golden Gloves in the Senior Division. [18]
  • In February 1968, he knocked out L.C. Brown to win the San Francisco Examiner's Senior Title in San Francisco. [18]
  • In March 1968, he won the National Boxing Championships heavyweight title in Toledo, Ohio, vs. Henry Crump of Philadelphia in the final. [18]
  • He sparred five rounds on two different occasions in July 1968 with former World Heavyweight Champion Sonny Liston (Liston sparred in 22-oz custom-made Everlast gloves, Foreman later recalled that Liston was the only man who forced him to back up consistently in the ring.) [18]
  • On September 21, 1968, he won his second decision over Otis Evans to make the U.S. boxing team for the Mexico City Olympic Games. [18]
  • Foreman had a 16–4 amateur boxing record going into the Olympics. He knocked out the Soviet Union's Jonas Čepulis to win the Olympic Games Heavyweight Gold Medal. He was trained for the Olympic Games by Robert (Pappy) Gault. [18]
  • His amateur record was 22–4 when he turned professional. [3][18]

Foreman turned professional in 1969 with a three-round knockout of Donald Walheim in New York City. He had a total of 13 fights that year, winning all of them (11 by knockout).

In 1970, Foreman continued his march toward the undisputed heavyweight title, winning all 12 of his bouts (11 by knockout). Among the opponents he defeated were Gregorio Peralta, whom he decisioned at Madison Square Garden, although Peralta showed that Foreman was vulnerable to fast counter-punching mixed with an assertive boxing style. Foreman then defeated George Chuvalo by technical knockout (TKO) in three rounds. After this win, Foreman defeated Charlie Polite in four rounds and Boone Kirkman in three. Peralta and Chuvalo were Foreman's first world-level wins. Peralta was the number-10 ranked heavyweight in the world in January 1970 per The Ring, [19] while Chuvalo was number seven in the world per their March 1971 issue. [20]

In 1971, Foreman won seven more fights, winning all of them by knockout, including a rematch with Peralta, whom he defeated by knockout in the 10th and final round in Oakland, California, and a win over Leroy Caldwell, whom he knocked out in the second round. After amassing a record of 32–0 (29 KO), he was ranked as the number-one challenger by the World Boxing Association and World Boxing Council.

Title Reign Edit

Sunshine Showdown: Foreman vs. Frazier Edit

In 1972, still undefeated and with an impressive knockout record, Foreman was set to challenge undefeated and undisputed World Heavyweight Champion Joe Frazier. Despite boycotting a title elimination caused by the vacancy resulting from the championship being stripped from Muhammad Ali, Frazier had won the title from Jimmy Ellis and defended his title four times since, including a 15-round unanimous decision over the previously unbeaten Ali in 1971 after Ali had beaten Oscar Bonavena and Jerry Quarry. Despite Foreman's superior size and reach, he was not expected to beat Frazier [21] and was a 3:1 underdog going into the fight.

The Sunshine Showdown took place on January 22, 1973, in Kingston, Jamaica, with Foreman dominating the fight to win the championship by TKO. In ABC's rebroadcast, Howard Cosell made the memorable call, "Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier!" Before the fight, Frazier was 29–0 (25 KO) and Foreman was 37–0 (34 KO). Frazier was knocked down six times by Foreman within two rounds (the three-knockdown rule was not in effect for this bout). After the second knockdown, Frazier's balance and mobility were impaired to the extent that he was unable to evade Foreman's combinations. Frazier managed to get to his feet for all six knockdowns, but referee Arthur Mercante eventually called an end to the one-sided bout.

Foreman was sometimes characterized by the media as an aloof and antisocial champion. [22] According to them, he always seemed to wear a sneer and was not often available to the press. Foreman later attributed his demeanor during this time as an emulation of Sonny Liston, for whom he had been an occasional sparring partner. Foreman defended his title successfully twice during his initial reign as champion. His first defense, in Tokyo, pitted him against Puerto Rican Heavyweight Champion José Roman. Roman was not regarded as a top contender, but had managed to beat a few decent fighters such as EBU champion Spain Jose Manuel Urtain, and was ranked the number-seven heavyweight in the March 1973 issue of The Ring. [23] Foreman needed only two minutes to end the fight, one of the fastest knockouts in a heavyweight championship bout.

The Caracas Caper: Foreman vs. Norton Edit

Foreman's next defense was against a much tougher opponent. In 1974, in Caracas, Venezuela, he faced the highly regarded future hall-of-famer Ken Norton (who was 30–2), a boxer noted for his awkward crossed-arm boxing style, crab-like defense, and heavy punch (a style Foreman emulated in his comeback), who had broken the jaw of Muhammad Ali in a points victory a year earlier. Norton had a good chin and had performed well against Ali in their two matches, winning the first on points and nearly winning the second. (Norton developed a reputation for showing nerves against heavy hitters, largely beginning with this fight.) After an even first round, Foreman staggered Norton with an uppercut a minute into round two, buckling him into the ropes. Norton did not hit the canvas, but continued on wobbly legs, clearly not having recovered, and shortly he went down a further two times in quick succession, with the referee intervening and stopping the fight. "Ken was awesome when he got going. I didn't want him to get into the fight", Foreman said when interviewed years later. [ This quote needs a citation ] This fight became known as the "Caracas Caper".

Foreman had cruised past two of the top names in the rankings. The win gave him a 40–0 record with 37 knockouts.

Losing the title Edit

The Rumble in the Jungle: Foreman vs. Ali Edit

Foreman's next title defense, on October 30, 1974 in Kinshasa, Zaire against Muhammad Ali, was historic. The bout, promoted as the "Rumble in the Jungle", exceeded even its wildest expectations.

During training there in mid-September Foreman suffered a cut above his eye, forcing postponement of the match for a month. The injury affected his training regimen, as it meant he could not spar in the build-up to the fight and risk the cut being reopened. He later commented: "That was the best thing that happened to Ali when we were in Africa—the fact that I had to get ready for the fight without being able to box." [25] Foreman later also claimed he was drugged by his trainer prior to the bout. [26] Ali used this time to tour Zaire, endearing himself to the public, while taunting Foreman at every opportunity. Foreman was favored, having crushed undefeated heavyweight champion Joe Frazier and toppled formidable challenger Ken Norton both within two rounds.

When Foreman and Ali finally met in the ring, Ali began more aggressively than expected, outscoring Foreman with superior punching speed. In the second round, Ali retreated to the ropes, shielding his head and hitting Foreman in the face at every opportunity. Foreman dug vicious body punches into Ali's sides however, Foreman was unable to land many big punches to Ali's head. The ring ropes, being unusually loose [ citation needed ] (Foreman later charged that Angelo Dundee had loosened them, a story supported by Norman Mailer in the book The Fight), allowed Ali to lean back and away from Foreman's wild swings and then to clinch Foreman behind the head, forcing Foreman to expend much extra energy untangling himself. Ali also constantly pushed down on Foreman's neck, [ citation needed ] but was never warned about doing so. To this day, whether Ali's prefight talk of using speed and movement against Foreman had been just a diversion or his reliance on what he dubbed the "rope-a-dope" was a mid-bout improvisation is unclear. His longtime trainer, Angelo Dundee, maintained to his death it was not part of their strategy, and he had been as surprised by it as everyone else.

Ali continued to take heavy punishment to the body in exchange for the opportunity to land a hard jolt to Foreman's head. Ali later said he was "out on his feet" twice during the bout. As Foreman began to tire, his punches began to lose power and became increasingly wild. By mid-bout an increasingly confident Ali began to taunt the exhausted champion relentlessly, who had been reduced to mere pawing and landing harmless rubber-armed blows. Late in the eighth round Ali came off the ropes with a series of successively harder and more accurate right hooks to the side and back of Foreman's head, leaving him dazed and careening backwards. After a lightning two-punch flurry squared him up, Ali ended the bout with a combination of solid left hook and straight right flush to the jaw that sent Foreman windmilling hard to the canvas, [27] the first time he had been down in his career.

Foreman later reflected, "it just wasn't my night". Though he sought a rematch with Ali, he was unable to secure one. In some quarters it was suggested Ali was ducking him, [28] taking on low-risk opponents such as Chuck Wepner, Richard Dunn, Jean Pierre Coopman, and Alfredo Evangelista. But Ali also fought formidable opponents, such as Ron Lyle, and gave rematches to the still-dangerous Frazier and Ken Norton, the only two men to have ever beaten him. And Foreman clearly lost his edge after the dazing upset in Zaire. Still, a potentially massive money-making encore with Foreman never happened, whatever the reason.

First comeback Edit

Foreman remained inactive during 1975. In 1976, he announced a comeback and stated his intention of securing a rematch with Ali. His first opponent was to be Ron Lyle, who had been defeated by Ali in 1975, via 11th-round TKO. Lyle was the number-five rated heavyweight in the world at the time per the March 1976 issue of the Ring. [29] At the end of the first round, Lyle landed a hard right that sent Foreman staggering across the ring. In the second round, Foreman pounded Lyle against the ropes and might have scored a KO, but due to a timekeeping error, the bell rang with a minute still remaining in the round and Lyle survived. In the third, Foreman pressed forward, with Lyle waiting to counter off the ropes. In the fourth, a brutal slugfest erupted. A cluster of power punches from Lyle sent Foreman to the canvas. When Foreman got up, Lyle staggered him again, but just as Foreman seemed finished, he retaliated with a hard right to the side of the head, knocking down Lyle. Lyle beat the count, then landed another brutal combination, knocking Foreman down for the second time. Again, Foreman beat the count. Foreman said later that he had never been hit so hard in a fight and remembered looking down at the canvas and seeing blood. In the fifth round, both fighters continued to ignore defense and traded their hardest punches, looking crude. Each man staggered the other, and each seemed almost out on his feet. Then, as if finally tired, Lyle stopped punching, and Foreman delivered a dozen unanswered blows until Lyle collapsed to the canvas. Lyle remained down, giving Foreman a KO victory. The fight was named by The Ring as "The Fight of the Year".

Foreman vs Frazier 2 Edit

For his next bout, Foreman chose to face Joe Frazier in a rematch. Frazier was then the world's number-three heavyweight per The Ring. [29] Because of the one-sided Foreman victory in their first fight, and the fact that Frazier had taken a tremendous amount of punishment from Ali in Manila a year earlier, few expected him to win. Frazier at this point was 32–3, having lost only to Foreman and Ali twice, and Foreman was 41–1, with his sole defeat at the hands of Ali. However, their rematch began competitively, as Frazier used quick head movements to make Foreman miss with his hardest punches. Frazier was wearing a contact lens for his vision, which was knocked loose during the bout. Unable to mount a significant offense, Frazier was eventually floored twice by Foreman in the fifth round and the fight was stopped. Next, Foreman knocked out Scott LeDoux in three rounds and prospect John Dino Denis in four to finish the year.

Foreman had a life-changing year in 1977. After knocking out Pedro Agosto in four rounds at Pensacola, Florida, Foreman flew to Puerto Rico a day before the fight without giving himself time to acclimatize. His opponent was the skilled boxer Jimmy Young, who had beaten Ron Lyle and lost a very controversial decision to Muhammad Ali the previous year. Foreman fought cautiously early on, allowing Young to settle into the fight. Young constantly complained about Foreman pushing him, for which Foreman eventually had a point deducted by the referee, although Young was never warned for his persistent holding. Foreman badly hurt Young in round seven, but was unable to land a finishing blow. Foreman tired during the second half of the fight and suffered a knockdown in round 12 en route to losing a decision. [ citation needed ]

Christianity Edit

Foreman became ill in his dressing room after the fight. He was suffering from exhaustion and heatstroke and stated he had a near-death experience. He spoke of being in a hellish, frightening place of nothingness and despair, and realized that he was in the midst of death. Though not yet religious, he began to plead with God to help him. He explained that he sensed God asking him to change his life and ways. When he said, "I don't care if this is death – I still believe there is a God", he felt a hand pull him out and sensed that he was also suffering stigmata. [ citation needed ]

After this experience, Foreman became a born-again Christian, dedicating his life for the next decade to God. Although he did not formally retire from boxing, Foreman stopped fighting and became an ordained minister, initially preaching on street corners before becoming the reverend at the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ [30] in Houston [31] and devoting himself to his family and his congregation. He also opened a youth center [32] that bears his name. Foreman continues to speak about his experience on Christian television broadcasts such as The 700 Club and the Trinity Broadcasting Network and later joked that Young had knocked the devil out of him. [ citation needed ]

In 1987, after 10 years away from the ring, Foreman surprised the boxing world by announcing a comeback at the age of 38. In his autobiography, he wrote that his primary motive was to raise money to fund the youth center he had created, which had required much of the money he had earned in the initial phase of his career. Another stated ambition was to fight Mike Tyson. [33] For his first fight, he went to Sacramento, California, where he beat journeyman Steve Zouski by a knockout in four rounds. Foreman weighed 267 lb (121 kg) for the fight and looked badly out of shape. Although many thought his decision to return to the ring was a mistake, Foreman countered that he had returned to prove that age was not a barrier to people achieving their goals (as he said later, he wanted to show that age 40 is not a "death sentence"). He won four more bouts that year, gradually slimming down and improving his fitness. In 1988, he won nine times. Perhaps his most notable win during this period was a seventh-round knockout of former Light Heavyweight and Cruiserweight Champion Dwight Muhammad Qawi. [ citation needed ]

Having always been a deliberate fighter, Foreman had not lost much mobility in the ring since his first "retirement", although he found keeping his balance harder after throwing big punches and could no longer throw rapid combinations. He was still capable of landing heavy single blows, however. The late-round fatigue that had plagued him in the ring as a young man now seemed to be unexpectedly gone, and he could comfortably compete for 12 rounds. Foreman attributed this to his new, relaxed fighting style (he has spoken of how, earlier in his career, his lack of stamina came from an enormous amount of nervous tension). [ citation needed ]

By 1989, while continuing his comeback, Foreman had sold his name and face for the advertising of various products, selling everything from grills to mufflers on TV. For this purpose, his public persona was reinvented, and the formerly aloof, ominous Foreman had been replaced by a smiling, friendly George. Ali and he had become friends, and he followed in Ali's footsteps by making himself a celebrity outside boxing. Foreman continued his string of victories, winning five more fights, the most impressive being a three-round win over Bert Cooper, who went on to contest the undisputed heavyweight title against Evander Holyfield.

Foreman vs. Cooney Edit

In 1990, Foreman met former title challenger Gerry Cooney in Atlantic City. Cooney was coming off a long period of inactivity, but was well regarded for his punching power. Cooney wobbled Foreman in the first round, but Foreman landed several powerful punches in the second round. Cooney was knocked down twice and Foreman scored a devastating KO. Foreman went on to win four more fights that year.

Foreman vs. Holyfield Edit

The following year, Foreman was given the opportunity to challenge undisputed heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield, who was in tremendous shape at 208 pounds, for the world title in a pay-per-view boxing event. Very few boxing experts gave the 42-year-old Foreman a chance of winning. Foreman, who weighed in at 257 pounds, began the contest by marching forward, absorbing several of Holyfield's best combinations and occasionally landing a powerful swing of his own. Holyfield proved too tough and agile to knock down and was well ahead on points throughout the fight, but Foreman surprised many by lasting the full 12 rounds, losing his challenge on points. Round seven, in which Foreman knocked Holyfield off balance before being staggered by a powerful combination, was expected to be The Ring's "Round of the Year", [ citation needed ] though no award was given in 1991. [34]

A year later, Foreman fought journeyman Alex Stewart, who had previously been stopped in the first round by Mike Tyson. Foreman knocked down Stewart twice in the second round, but expended a lot of energy in doing so. He was subsequently tired, and Stewart rebounded. By the end of the 10th and final round, Foreman's face was bloodied and swollen, but the judges awarded him a majority decision win.

Foreman vs. Morrison Edit

In 1993, Foreman received another title shot, although this was for the vacant WBO title. Foreman's opponent was Tommy Morrison, a young prospect known for his punching power. Morrison retreated throughout the fight, refusing to trade toe-to-toe, and sometimes he turned his back on Foreman. The strategy paid off and he outboxed Foreman from long range. After 12 rounds, Morrison won a unanimous decision.

In this period, Foreman also starred briefly in the situation comedy George on ABC. The show, which featured Foreman as a retired boxer, premiered in November, 1993, and ran for 10 episodes, where nine aired. The show was co-produced by actor and former boxer Tony Danza. [35]

Regaining the title: Foreman vs. Moorer Edit

In 1994, Foreman again sought to challenge for the world championship after Michael Moorer had beaten Holyfield for the IBF and WBA titles. Having lost his last fight against Morrison, Foreman was unranked and in no position to demand another title shot. His relatively high profile, however, made a title shot against Moorer, 19 years his junior, a lucrative prospect at seemingly little risk for the champion.

Foreman's title challenge against Moorer took place on November 5 in Las Vegas, Nevada, with Foreman wearing the same red trunks he had worn in his title loss to Ali 20 years earlier. This time, however, Foreman was a substantial underdog. For nine rounds, Moorer easily outboxed him, hitting and moving away, while Foreman chugged forward, seemingly unable to "pull the trigger" on his punches. Entering the 10th round, Foreman was trailing on all scorecards. However, he launched a comeback in the 10th round and hit Moorer with a number of punches. Then, a short right hand caught Moorer on the tip of his chin, gashing open his bottom lip, and he collapsed to the canvas. He lay flat on the canvas as the referee counted him out.

In an instant, Foreman had regained the title he had lost to Muhammad Ali two decades before. He went back to his corner and knelt in prayer as the arena erupted in cheers. With this historic victory, Foreman broke three records: He became, at age 45, the oldest fighter ever to win a world championship 20 years after losing his title for the first time, he broke the record for the fighter with the longest interval between his first and second world championships and the age spread of 19 years between the champion and challenger was the largest of any heavyweight boxing championship fight.

Champion once again Edit

Foreman vs. Schulz Edit

Prelude Edit

Shortly after the 1994 Moorer fight, Foreman began talking about a potential superfight with Mike Tyson, then the youngest heavyweight champion on record. In 1995, The New York Times quoted Foreman as stating, "If he doesn't sign with Don King, we'll fight before the end of the year. I can't be bothered having trouble with Don King. Every contract has some complication." [36] Tyson signed with King (and by 1998, was suing him for $100 million) [37] the bout never materialized.

The WBA demanded that Foreman fight their number-one challenger, who at the time was the competent, but aging, Tony Tucker. For reasons not clearly known, Foreman refused to fight Tucker and allowed the WBA to strip him of that belt. [ citation needed ]

Schulz match Edit

On April 22, 1995, Foreman fought midlevel underdog prospect Axel Schulz, of Germany, in defense of his remaining IBF title. Schulz jabbed strongly from long range, and exhibited increasing confidence as the fight progressed. Foreman finished the fight with a swelling over one eye, but was awarded a controversial majority decision. The IBF ordered an immediate rematch to be held in Germany Foreman refused the terms and was stripped of his remaining title, yet continued to be recognized as the Lineal Heavyweight Champion. [ citation needed ]

Losing the title: Foreman vs. Briggs Edit

In 1996, Foreman returned to Tokyo, scoring an easy win over the unrated Crawford Grimsley by a 12-round decision. In 1997, he faced contender Lou Savarese, winning a close decision in a grueling, competitive encounter. Then, yet another opportunity came Foreman's way as the WBC decided to match him against Shannon Briggs in a 1997 "eliminator bout" for the right to face WBC champion Lennox Lewis. After 12 rounds, in which Foreman consistently rocked Briggs with power punches, almost everyone at ringside saw Foreman as the clear winner. [38] Once again, the decision was controversial, but this time it went in favor of Foreman's opponent, with Briggs awarded a points win. Foreman had fought for the last time, at the age of 48.

A travelogue series of the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts called The Walt Disney Magic Hour hosted by Foreman was supposed to debut as part of PAX's debut lineup in 1998, [39] [40] but never made it to air.

Foreman was gracious and philosophical in his loss to Briggs, but announced his "final" retirement shortly afterwards. However, he did plan a return bout against Larry Holmes in 1999, scheduled to take place at the Houston Astrodome on pay-per-view. The fight was to be billed as "The Birthday Bash" due to both fighters' upcoming birthdays. Foreman was set to make $10 million and Holmes was to make $4 million, but negotiations fell through and the fight was cancelled. With a continuing affinity for the sport, Foreman became a respected boxing analyst for HBO.

Foreman said he had no plans to resume his career as a boxer, but then announced in February 2004 that he was training for one more comeback fight to demonstrate that the age of 55, like 40, is not a "death sentence". The bout, against an unspecified opponent (rumored to be Trevor Berbick), never materialized (Foreman's wife was widely thought to have been a major factor in the change of plans). George Foreman left the sport of boxing after leaving HBO to pursue other opportunities.

Foreman has been married to Mary Joan Martelly since 1985. He had four previous marriages: to Adrienne Calhoun from 1971 to 1974, Cynthia Lewis from 1977 to 1979, Sharon Goodson from 1981 to 1982, and Andrea Skeete from 1982 to 1985. [41]

Foreman has 12 children: five sons and seven daughters. His five sons are George Jr., George III ("Monk"), George IV ("Big Wheel"), George V ("Red"), and George VI ("Little Joey"). On his website, Foreman explains, "I named all my sons George Edward Foreman so they would always have something in common. I say to them, 'If one of us goes up, then we all go up together, and if one goes down, we all go down together!'" [42] As with his father, George III has pursued a career in boxing and entrepreneurship. George IV appeared on the second season of the reality television series American Grit, where he placed seventh. [43] [44]

His seven daughters are Natalia, Leola, Freeda, Michi, Georgetta, Isabella, and Courtney. Natalia and Leola are from his marriage to Mary Joan Martelly. His daughters from separate relationships were Freeda, Michi, and Georgetta. He adopted a daughter, Isabella Brandie Lilja (Foreman), in 2009, [41] [45] and another, Courtney Isaac (Foreman), in 2012. [41] Freeda had a 5–1 record as a pro boxer, retired in 2001, and died in 2019 at age 42 in an apparent suicide. [46] [47] [48] Isabella Foreman lives in Sweden, where she has blogged since 2010 under the name of BellaNeutella. [49]

In recognition of Foreman's patriotism and community service, the American Legion honored him with its James V. Day "Good Guy" Award during its 95th National Convention in 2013. [50]

When Foreman came back from retirement, he argued that his success was due to his healthy eating. He was approached by Salton, Inc., which was looking for a spokesperson for its fat-reducing grill. As of 2009 [update] , the George Foreman Grill has sold over 100 million units. [51]

Although Foreman has never confirmed exactly how much he has earned from the endorsement, Salton paid him $138 million in 1999, for the right to use his name. Prior to that, he was paid about 40% of the profits on each grill sold (earning him $4.5 million a month in payouts at its peak), yielding an estimated total of over $200 million just from the endorsement through 2011, substantially more than he earned as a boxer. [52]


Lyrics to "The Old Rugged Cross"

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross / The emblem of suff'ring and shame / And I love that old cross where the dearest and best / For a world of lost sinners was slain.

*Refrain: So I'll cherish the old rugged cross / Till my trophies at last I lay down / I will cling to the old rugged cross / And exchange it some day for a crown.

Oh, that old rugged cross, so despised by the world / Has a wondrous attraction for me / For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above / To bear it to dark Calvary. (*Refrain)

In the old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine / Such a wonderful beauty I see / For 'twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died / To pardon and sanctify me. (*Refrain)

To the old rugged cross I will ever be true / Its shame and reproach gladly bear / Then He'll call me someday to my home far away / Where His glory forever I'll share. (*Refrain)


George Whitefield

Largely forgotten today, George Whitefield was probably the most famous religious figure of the eighteenth century. Newspapers called him the "marvel of the age." Whitefield was a preacher capable of commanding thousands on two continents through the sheer power of his oratory. In his lifetime, he preached at least 18,000 times to perhaps 10 million hearers.

Timeline

Spener's Pia Desideria advances Pietism

William Penn founds Pennsylvania

Isaac Watts publishes Hymns and Spiritual Songs

Robert Raikes begins his Sunday school

Born thespian

As a boy in Gloucester, England, he read plays insatiably and often skipped school to practice for his schoolboy performances. Later in life, he repudiated the theater, but the methods he imbibed as a young man emerged in his preaching.

He put himself through Pembroke College, Oxford, by waiting on the wealthier students. While there, he fell in with a group of pious "methodists"&mdashwho called themselves "the Holy Club"&mdashled by the Wesley brothers, John and Charles. Under their influence, he experienced a "new birth" and decided to become a missionary to the new Georgia colony on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.

When the voyage was delayed, Whitefield was ordained a deacon in the Anglican church and began preaching around London. He was surprised to discover that wherever he spoke, crowds materialized and hung on every word.

These were no ordinary sermons. He portrayed the lives of biblical characters with a realism no one had seen before. He cried, he danced, he screamed. Among the enthralled was David Garrick, then the most famous actor in Britain. "I would give a hundred guineas," he said, "if I could say 'Oh' like Mr. Whitefield."

Once, when preaching on eternity, he suddenly stopped his message, looked around, and exclaimed, "Hark! Methinks I hear [the saints] chanting their everlasting hallelujahs, and spending an eternal day in echoing forth triumphant songs of joy. And do you not long, my brethren, to join this heavenly choir?"

Whitefield eventually made it to Georgia but stayed for only three months. When he returned to London, he found many churches closed to his unconventional methods. He then experimented with outdoor, extemporaneous preaching, where no document or wooden pulpit stood between him and his audience.

Spellbound crowds

In 1739, Whitefield set out for a preaching tour of the American colonies. Whitefield selected Philadelphia&mdashthe most cosmopolitan city in the New World&mdashas his first American stop. But even the largest churches could not hold the 8,000 who came to see him, so he took them outdoors. Every stop along Whitefield's trip was marked by record audiences, often exceeding the population of the towns in which he preached. Whitefield was often surprised at how crowds "so scattered abroad, can be gathered at so short a warning."

The crowds were also aggressive in spirit. As one account tells it, crowds "elbowed, shoved, and trampled over themselves to hear of 'divine things' from the famed Whitefield."

Once Whitefield started speaking, however, the frenzied mobs were spellbound. "Even in London," Whitefield remarked, "I never observed so profound a silence."

Though mentored by the Wesleys, Whitefield set his own theological course: he was a convinced Calvinist. His main theme was the necessity of the "new birth," by which he meant a conversion experience. He never pleaded with people to convert, but only announced, and dramatized, his message.

Jonathan Edwards's wife, Sarah, remarked, "He makes less of the doctrines than our American preachers generally do and aims more at affecting the heart. He is a born orator. A prejudiced person, I know, might say that this is all theatrical artifice and display, but not so will anyone think who has seen and known him."

Whitefield also made the slave community a part of his revivals, though he was far from an abolitionist. Nonetheless, he increasingly sought out audiences of slaves and wrote on their behalf. The response was so great that some historians date it as the genesis of African-American Christianity.

Everywhere Whitefield preached, he collected support for an orphanage he had founded in Georgia during his brief stay there in 1738, though the orphanage left him deep in debt for most of his life.

The spiritual revival he ignited, the Great Awakening, became one of the most formative events in American history. His last sermon on this tour was given at Boston Commons before 23,000 people, likely the largest gathering in American history to that point.

"Scenes of uncontrollable distress"

Whitefield next set his sights on Scotland, to which he would make 14 visits in his life. His most dramatic visit was his second, when he visited the small town of Cambuslang, which was already undergoing a revival. His evening service attracted thousands and continued until 2:00 in the morning. "There were scenes of uncontrollable distress, like a field of battle. All night in the fields, might be heard the voice of prayer and praise." Whitefield concluded, "It far outdid all that I ever saw in America."

On Saturday, Whitefield, in concert with area pastors, preached to an estimated 20,000 people in services that stretched well into the night. The following morning, more than 1,700 communicants streamed alongside long Communion tables set up in tents. Everywhere in the town, he recalled, "you might have heard persons praying to and praising God."

Cultural hero

With every trip across the Atlantic, he became more popular. Indeed, much of the early controversy that surrounded Whitefield's revivals disappeared (critics complained of the excess enthusiasm of both preacher and crowds), and former foes warmed to a mellowed Whitefield.

Before his tours of the colonies were complete, virtually every man, woman, and child had heard the "Grand Itinerant" at least once. So pervasive was Whitefield's impact in America that he can justly be styled America's first cultural hero. Indeed, before Whitefield, it is doubtful any name, other than royalty, was known equally from Boston to Charleston.

Whitefield's lifelong successes in the pulpit were not matched in his private family life. Like many itinerants of his day, Whitefield was suspicious of marriage and feared a wife would become a rival to the pulpit. When he finally married an older widow, Elizabeth James, the union never seemed to flower into a deeply intimate, sharing relationship.

In 1770, the 55-year-old continued his preaching tour in the colonies as if he were still a young itinerant, insisting, "I would rather wear out than rust out." He ignored the danger signs, in particular asthmatic "colds" that brought "great difficulty" in breathing. His last sermon took place in the fields, atop a large barrel.

"He was speaking of the inefficiency of works to merit salvation," one listener recounted for the press, "and suddenly cried out in a tone of thunder, 'Works! works! A man gets to heaven by works! I would as soon think of climbing to the moon on a rope of sand.'"


“I’ll Bet You Goddam Buzzards are Just Following Me to See if I’ll Slap Another Soldier, Aren’t You? You’re All Hoping I will!”

Along with the faux pas committed during his Boston speech, Patton’s past indiscretions continued to dog him. During a visit to Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, he rounded on the press reporters following him with the words, “I’ll bet you goddam buzzards are just following me to see if I’ll slap another soldier, aren’t you? You’re all hoping I will!” His daughter, who worked in the amputee ward as an occupational therapist, recalled later that when her father saw the soldiers there he burst into tears and exclaimed, “Goddammit, if I had been a better general, most of you would not be here.” The men, who were not looking for sympathy, cheered him as he left.

Patton is said to have predicted his own death to both his daughters, Ruth Ellen and Bee, during a visit to the latter’s home in Washington shortly before his return to Germany. He told them, while his wife was out of the room, that he believed his luck had run out.

General George S. Patton visits his son-in-law, Lieutenant Colonel John Waters, while the latter recuperates in Walter Reed U.S. Army Hospital in Washington, D.C. Waters had been held in a German prison camp for three years. Patton was reported to have attempted a rescue operation at one time.

In early July in Paris, Patton again confided in his close friend Everett Hughes that he was glad to be out of the States and back in Europe. This was despite the fact that an Army order banning dependents had prevented Beatrice from accompanying him. Patton’s morale, however, got a lift when his aircraft was given a fighter escort for its flight to Bavaria and troops and tanks lined the route from the airfield to Bad Tölz. He wrote in his diary, “It gave me a very warm feeling in my heart to be back among soldiers.” Even so, Patton was pessimistic about the future of Europe, reluctant to get involved in the complexities of military government, and, perhaps more importantly, reluctant to purge the Nazis.

In the case of Europe, he was convinced it would soon become Communist, and in the case of the Nazis he saw practical problems. “My soldiers are fighting men and if I dismiss the sewer cleaners and the clerks my soldiers will have to take over those jobs,” he reasoned. “They’d have to run the telephone exchanges, the power facilities, the street cars, and that’s not what soldiers are for.” In short, provided a German had the right qualifications for a particular job, Patton was prepared to ignore his former Nazi background. This was, of course, completely contrary to the political direction he had received from Eisenhower for the denazification of the American zone of Germany. Furthermore, his problems were compounded by the fact that Washington was intent on demobilizing its warrior soldiers as quickly as possible, thus reducing his pool of skilled American manpower.

By his very nature and background, Patton was unsuited to his role as military governor. He was not interested in the details of rebuilding a country. He had little patience with the thousands of displaced persons (DPs), whom he described as “too worthless to even cut wood to keep themselves warm,” and his growing anti-Semitism coupled with despair over the fate of Germany led him to the depths of melancholia. He wrote in his diary, “If we let Germany and the German people be completely disintegrated and starved, they will certainly fall for Communism, and the fall of Germany for Communism will write the epitaph of democracy in the United States. The more I see of people, the more I regret I survived the war.” He even accused the U.S. Treasury Secretary of “Semitic revenge against Germany.”

On July 16, the Potsdam Conference convened, and Patton, resplendent with 20 stars and ivory-handled pistols, was in Berlin to see Truman preside over the raising of the American flag in the U.S. sector of the divided former German capital. The two men did not get on. Truman wrote in his diary, “Don’t see how a country can produce such men as Robert E. Lee, John J. Pershing, Eisenhower and Bradley and at the same time produce Custers, Pattons and MacArthurs.”

Patton did not enjoy his time there and on the 21st wrote to Beatrice, “We have destroyed what could have been a good race and we [are] about to replace them with Mongolian savages. Now the horrors of peace, pacifism and unions will have unlimited sway. I wish I were young enough to fight in the next one [war]. It would be real fun killing Mongols…. It is hell to be old and passé and know it.”

In his despondency, Patton reverted to the things he liked and did best—overseeing the training and discipline of his Army, riding, hunting, and reading‚—and for exercise he added a squash court to his residence. But the end of the war with Japan only added to his low morale on August 10 he wrote in his diary, “Another war has ended and with it my usefulness to the world. It is for me personally another very sad thought. Now all that is left is to sit around and await the arrival of the undertaker and posthumous immortality.”

Patton’s biographer, Carlo D’Este, has suggested that his melancholy and increasingly extraordinary behavior may have been due to brain damage that resulted from a series of head injuries caused by a lifetime of falls from horses and road accidents—the most serious being an accident in Hawaii in 1936 that had resulted in a two-day blackout. He goes on to say, however, that we shall never know, for after his death Beatrice refused to allow an autopsy on the body despite a request from the Army.

General George S. Patton, Jr. (left) strains to smile in company with Marshal Georgi Zhukov during a September 7, 1945, parade in Berlin. The two were present during activities celebrating the Allied victory over Japan.

In September, Patton returned to Berlin for a military review hosted by the legendary Marshal Georgi Zhukov. He had lost none of his quick wit or audacity. When his host pointed out a new, massive, and very advanced Stalin IS-3 tank and mentioned that its cannon had a range of 17,000 meters, Patton is said to have replied, “Indeed? Well, my dear Marshal Zhukov, let me tell you this. If any of my gunners started firing at your people before they had closed to less than 700 yards, I’d have them court-martialed for cowardice.”

Despite Patton’s indiscretions and lack of interest in his overall duties, in August 1945 Bavaria was judged by Secretary of War Stimson to be the best-governed area in the whole U.S. European Theater of Operations (ETO), an opinion apparently shared by his deputy. But any satisfaction Patton might have derived from this report was to be short-lived. In September things began to go terribly wrong for him.

During the early part of that month he decided to visit some of the prison camps in his area holding hardened Nazis and former members of the Waffen SS. Camp 24 at Auerbach, 100 miles northeast of Munich, held former members of the 1st Leibstandarte and 12th Hitlerjugend SS Panzer Divisions, and there had already been complaints by the senior German officer of “unbearable treatment of seriously disabled comrades.”

These had, however, been rejected, and when references had been made to the Geneva Convention, the officer had been told: “What do you mean Geneva Convention? You seem to have forgotten that you lost the war!” However, Hubert Meyer, the ex-Chief of Staff of the Hitlerjugend, recalled that on the occasion of Patton’s visit things had been very different. After satisfying himself about the correctness of the complaints, Patton immediately ordered action to rectify the situation and then went further, ordering that the starvation diet, which was described by one former senior German officer as “not enough to live on, but too much to die on,” should be supplemented by American Army rations.

It was in Camp 8 near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, 60 miles south of Munich, on September 8, 1945, that an incident occurred which was to have severe implications for Patton’s future career. After inspecting the American garrison responsible for administering and guarding the camp, he met the German commander of the prisoners. He complained that some Germans were being interned there as political prisoners without justification. Patton is said to have told the American officers accompanying him that he thought it was “sheer madness to intern these people.”

Not surprisingly, one of the American officers, a Jew, reported the incident to Eisenhower’s headquarters, now housed in the IG Farben building in Frankfurt and known as Headquarters U.S. Forces European Theater (USFET). The complaint landed on the desk of Ike’s civil affairs officer, Brig. Gen. Clarence Adcock. He briefed Ike’s chief of staff, General Walter Bedell Smith, who sent the report of the incident to Eisenhower who was on leave in the South of France. It was accompanied by a cover letter saying Smith thought Patton was out of control in Bavaria and that Ike ought to come back and take the matter in hand before any further damage was done.

Eisenhower returned and went to see Patton at Tegernsee on September 16. They talked until three in the morning, but there is no record of any discussion about Patton’s military governorship. They did, however, discuss Ike’s successor. The former supreme commander was due to return home in November to take over as Army chief of staff at the end of the year. When Patton heard that Ike’s likely successor was to be his deputy, General Joseph McNarney, he said he had no wish to serve under a man who had never heard a gun go off. The only jobs in which he was interested were commandant of the Army War College or commanding general of the Army ground forces. Ike told him they were both already filled. Patton wrote in his diary, “I guess there is nothing left for me but the undertaker.”


George W. Bush in 2005: 'If we wait for a pandemic to appear, it will be too late to prepare'

A book about the 1918 flu pandemic spurred the government to action.

George W. Bush paved way for global pandemic planning

In the summer of 2005, President George W. Bush was on vacation at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, when he began flipping through an advance reading copy of a new book about the 1918 flu pandemic. He couldn't put it down.

When he returned to Washington, he called his top homeland security adviser into the Oval Office and gave her the galley of historian John M. Barry's "The Great Influenza," which told the chilling tale of the mysterious plague that "would kill more people than the outbreak of any other disease in human history."

"You've got to read this," Fran Townsend remembers the president telling her. "He said, 'Look, this happens every 100 years. We need a national strategy.'"

Thus was born the nation's most comprehensive pandemic plan -- a playbook that included diagrams for a global early warning system, funding to develop new, rapid vaccine technology, and a robust national stockpile of critical supplies, such as face masks and ventilators, Townsend said.

The effort was intense over the ensuing three years, including exercises where cabinet officials gamed out their responses, but it was not sustained. Large swaths of the ambitious plan were either not fully realized or entirely shelved as other priorities and crises took hold.

But elements of that effort have formed the foundation for the national response to the coronavirus pandemic underway right now.

"Despite politics, despite changes, when a crisis hits, you pull what you've got off the shelf and work from there," Townsend said.

When Bush first told his aides he wanted to focus on the potential of a global pandemic, many of them harbored doubts.

"My reaction was -- I'm buried. I'm dealing with counterterrorism. Hurricane season. Wildfires. I'm like, 'What?'" Townsend said. "He said to me, 'It may not happen on our watch, but the nation needs the plan.'"

Over the ensuing months, cabinet officials got behind the idea. Most of them had governed through the Sept. 11 terror attacks, so events considered unlikely but highly-impactful had a certain resonance.

"There was a realization that it's no longer fantastical to raise scenarios about planes falling from the sky, or anthrax arriving in the mail," said Tom Bossert, who worked in the Bush White House and went on to serve as a homeland security adviser in the Trump administration. "It was not a novel. It was the world we were living."

According to Bossert, who is now an ABC News contributor, Bush did not just insist on preparation for a pandemic. He was obsessed with it.

"He was completely taken by the reality that that was going to happen," Bossert said.

Tune into ABC at 1 p.m. ET and ABC News Live at 4 p.m. ET every weekday for special coverage of the novel coronavirus with the full ABC News team, including the latest news, context and analysis.

In a November 2005 speech at the National Institutes of Health, Bush laid out proposals in granular detail -- describing with stunning prescience how a pandemic in the United States would unfold. Among those in the audience was Dr. Anthony Fauci, the leader of the current crisis response, who was then and still is now the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

"A pandemic is a lot like a forest fire," Bush said at the time. "If caught early it might be extinguished with limited damage. If allowed to smolder, undetected, it can grow to an inferno that can spread quickly beyond our ability to control it."

The president recognized that an outbreak was a different kind of disaster than the ones the federal government had been designed to address.

"To respond to a pandemic, we need medical personnel and adequate supplies of equipment," Bush said. "In a pandemic, everything from syringes to hospital beds, respirators masks and protective equipment would be in short supply."

Bush told the gathered scientists that they would need to develop a vaccine in record time.

"If a pandemic strikes, our country must have a surge capacity in place that will allow us to bring a new vaccine on line quickly and manufacture enough to immunize every American against the pandemic strain," he said.


SETTING TRADITIONS

As the nation’s first president, Washington set the example for other presidents. He worked out how the nation would negotiate treaties with other countries. He decided how the president would select and get advice from cabinet members. He also established the practice of giving a regular State of the Union speech, a yearly update on how the country is doing. He appointed federal judges and established basic government services such as banks. As president, he also worked hard to keep the new country out of wars with Native Americans and European nations.


Watch the video: Curious George and the Pizza (September 2022).


Comments:

  1. Togami

    After reading, even me, the topic became interesting.

  2. Carvel

    The office writes, things are going ... =)

  3. Kildaire

    Eh, hold me seven!

  4. Akker

    I apologize, but could you please describe in a little more detail.



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