The young woman who filmed the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer on May 25, 2020 has been awarded a special prize by the Pulitzer jury. A rare honor, which underscores the importance of citizen journalism.
The Pulitzer jury awarded as every year “Numerous awards to institutions and journalists this 11 June, but among these rewards, a special prize stood out: the one awarded to Darnella Frazier ”, highlighted Vanity Fair.
The young woman was only 17 years old when, on May 25, 2020, she witnessed the arrest of George Floyd in Minneapolis and waved her cell phone to document for nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds the death of this African-American. 46-year-old under the knee of white policeman Derek Chauvin.
An act of courage
The Pulitzer jury rewarded her for having “Bravely filmed the murder of George Floyd, a video which sparked protests against police brutality around the world and which underscores the crucial role of citizens in journalists’ quest for truth and justice”, underlines the American site.
What’s more, the viral video of the young woman has also “Was a key piece of evidence in the trial of white policeman Derek Chauvin”, convicted on April 20 of the murder of George Floyd, remind him Minneapolis Star Tribune.
As pointed out the daily USA Today, “This special prize is accompanied by a financial reward of approximately 15 000 dollars [12 400 euros], like the other Pulitzer Prizes awarded ”.
And this is not the first time in its history, far from it, that the Pulitzer jury has awarded special prizes. This had been the case in 2020 with the “Special prize awarded posthumously to Ida B. Wells”, African-American pioneer of investigative journalism who had constantly denounced racial discrimination and documented the extent of the lynching in the United States, explains the daily.
This was also the case in 2019, in a completely different category, with the special award given to singer Aretha Franklin for her contribution to American music and culture; as well as that awarded in 2018 to jazzman Duke Ellington.
An insufficient price
In a column published on the website of CNN, essayist Mikki Kendall, however, finds it difficult to celebrate this special Pulitzer Prize, because according to her:
Darnella Frazier’s work would have been better recognized if it had been cited in an existing category or in a new category honoring citizen journalism. ”
This award “Does not change the history of the Pulitzer Prize”, whose jury has only very rarely awarded prizes to African-American journalists or writers until 2016, she recalls. And the symbolic nature of this special prize “Does not change the traumatic reality that Darnella Frazier filmed and recorded”.
For Mikki Kendall, indeed, Darnella Frazier has undoubtedly produced something “Which will remain in the history of the United States, and of the world: she filmed the truth of police violence, exposed the revolting absurdity which wants us to normalize and justify extrajudicial executions committed by representatives public authorities, in this case the police ”.
What’s more, in many ways, “She sacrificed a part of herself to bear witness to a horror of which America, in its vast majority, has not yet realized – not to mention ending it ”. Therefore, believes the essayist, it is almost all the more scandalous that an institution like the Pulitzer grants a symbolic reward to the young woman for her courage without questioning the additional burden that it could be for her.
And Mikki Kendall concludes:
I am amazed that the jury recognizes (and is to be welcomed) the importance of what she has done, but does not deem her worthy of an award that does not have an asterisk. ”
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Death of George Floyd. Pulitzer Prize awarded to Darnella Frazier, symbol of the importance of citizen journalism