Interview with Selwyn Jones, Uncle of George Floyd

Our hosts talk with Selwyn Jones, hotelier, activist, and uncle of George Floyd. Jones celebrates his nephew's life and legacy, describes his successful campaign to remove the Confederate Flag emblem from the uniform of his local police, and discusses the ongoing roles of power and control in U.S. policing and race relations.
Born in 1966 to sharecroppers in the Jim Crow South, Selwyn Miles Jones was the youngest of seventeen children. In the small town of Goldsboro, North Carolina, Selwyn, and his siblings toiled alongside their parents in the tobacco fields and endured the most desolate and harsh conditions imaginable. The poverty, disrespect, hatred and disenfranchisement Selwyn and his family experienced was unimaginable to most, yet commonplace for many Black farming families.

Selwyn realized early on that sharecropping was yet another version of enslavement. His mother made sure to show her children that there was a better life out there for them and encouraged Selwyn to dream big. Selwyn was determined to leave through any means necessary. His athletic prowess provided him with his ticket out. Through a short but intense arena football career he was able to find financial solvency and fulfilled a childhood desire to purchase a home for his mother. 

Though life continued to be filled with challenges (Selwyn lost three close family members tragically, including both his parents) he went on to become a successful salesman, hotel owner and father with his dynamic wife Jodie. 

Then on May 25, 2020 Selwyn’s life was forever changed. While watching the news, along with the rest of the world, he witnessed the unmerciful murder of his 46-year-old nephew, George Floyd. “It was the most horrific thing that I ever witnessed in my life.” 

As George Floyd’s murder ignited the largest civil rights protest in US history, Selwyn Jones became an activist. Every day Selwyn commits to ending police brutality and systemic racism and bringing justice to his nephew’s senseless and cruel murder. Known affectionately as Uncle Selwyn Jones he promised “I will not let his death be in vain. I do not want my sons or anyone else to go through what my nephew endured for that 8 minutes 46 seconds. I want to be a beacon of light for those who face racism or adversity in this life.” 

He continues his personal growth by positively enhancing the lives of others in his work as a community & civil rights leader. 


Additional Resources:
Visible Men: Black Fathers Talk About Losing Sons to Police Brutality | GQ


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Music Courtesy of Traum Diggs:
"Died in Vein" by Traum Diggs


David Shanks, aka Traum Diggs, is an MC/writer/journalist from Brooklyn, NY. He began writing articles in 2005, contributing correspondent features for print and online publications and has participated in conferences and panels at several colleges and universities including Rider University and SUNY- Rockland. He has also contributed chapters in Hip Hop in America: A Regional Guide; Expressive Writing: Classroom and Community; and St. James Encyclopedia of Hip-Hop Culture. His independent album releases include Jazz Hop, Major Journalism, and Jazz Hop II.   A more complete discography is available at .

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