The image of Derek Chauvin’s knee on George Floyd’s neck has circulated around the globe for the past year. We have all heard him mutter the words “I can’t breathe” on the asphalt of a Minneapolis street because strangers used their phones to record what was being done.
The gruesome video of how he died shaped protests across North Carolina. In Fayetteville, it lit a literal fire on the Market House — a building known as the focal point of the city where goods were sold, and at one point, slaves were auctioned.
Conflict around the national historical landmark dates back to the Civil War — when troops were marching on the same stretch of road where activists now gather almost 200 years later. Floyd’s death didn’t bring the mixed history of the market house to light all of a sudden. According to one activist living in the community, Mario Benavente, it metaphorically shattered something already broken for people who were already mad.