An April 13 2021 tweet made an unsettling claim — that the girlfriend of George Floyd was Daunte Wright’s teacher, and that Fred Hampton’s mother occasionally babysat Emmett Till:
In the short amount of characters available on Twitter, @consciouskidlib said:
Finding out that George Floyd’s girlfriend was Daunte Wright’s teacher reminds us that Fred Hampton’s mom babysat Emmett Till. It’s devastating to grasp the violence & collective trauma of systemic racism across families, communities & generations—& know how little has changed.
In November 2019, a previous version of the claim appeared on Reddit’s r/BlackPeopleTwitter:
Floyd and Wright were alive at the time the tweet was shared. It read:
Fred Hampton’s mother used to babysit Emmett Till.
I’m gonna be thinking about that for a long time.
George Floyd, Daunte Wright, Fred Hampton, and Emmett Till
While the tweet was comprehensive, it further touched on the sheer breadth of racist, often state-sponsored violence. All four of the people mentioned have been central to previous fact-checks on this site — George Floyd, Daunte Wright, Emmett Till, and Fred Hampton.
George Floyd was killed in May 2020, when former police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds, suffocating him. (At the time the tweet was published, Chauvin was standing trial in Floyd’s death.)
Emmett Till was lynched in August 1955 at the age of just 14 in Mississippi, after a white woman (Carolyn Bryant) falsely accused him of making a pass at her. Bryant was still living in April 2021, the “sole [surviving] suspect” in Till’s murder, and was never charged; Till’s violent murder galvanized the American civil rights movement.
George Floyd’s Girlfriend Was Daunte Wright’s Teacher
In the first part of the tweet, two primary connections were cited — that Wright was linked to Floyd through Floyd’s girlfriend (a teacher), and that Hampton’s mother babysat Till prior to his murder in 1955.
The first claim was easily validated through public information. On April 14 2021, CBS News reported:
Daunte Wright and George Floyd share a lot in common, though the two men never met. Both were Black fathers died after confrontations with police. Both were in the Minneapolis area. And on [April 12 2021], it was revealed that the two men had a more personal connection: Floyd’s girlfriend Courteney Ross was Wright’s former teacher.
Wright’s aunt, Naisha Wright, revealed the connection at a press conference alongside Floyd’s family and attorney Ben Crump on [April 12 2021].
“My nephew was 20 years old, 20 years old,” she said. “He was loved. He was ours.”
The April 13 2021 tweet from @consciouskidlib appeared after Wright’s aunt disclosed the connection between Floyd and Wright through Floyd’s partner Courteney Ross on April 12 2021.
Fred Hampton’s Mom Babysat Emmett Till
The connection between Till and Hampton, two black men murdered at very young ages in 1955 and 1969 respectively, was broadly discussed after the early 2021 release of a biopic about Hampton — Judas and the Black Messiah.
A February 11 2021 Smithsonian Magazine piece described the film as an account of “Black Panther leader Fred Hampton’s betrayal by an FBI informant.” That outlet consulted Smithsonian curator at its National Museum of African American History, William Pretzer, who validated Hampton’s connection to Till:
According to William Pretzer, a supervisory curator at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), the young Hampton was keenly aware of racial injustice in his community. His mother babysat for Emmett Till prior to the 14-year-old’s murder in Mississippi in 1955; ten years after Till’s death, he witnessed white mobs attacking Martin Luther King Jr.’s Chicago crusade firsthand.
“Hampton is really influenced by the desire of the NAACP and King to make change, and the kind of resistance that they encounter,” says Pretzer. “So it’s as early as 1966 that Hampton starts to gravitate toward Malcolm X … [and his] philosophy of self-defense rather than nonviolent direct action.”
Brittanica.com’s entry on Hampton’s life included the detail about his family’s acquaintance with the family of Till:
Fred Hampton, in full Frederick Allen Hampton, (born August 30, 1948, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.—killed December 4, 1969, Chicago), American civil rights leader and deputy chairman of the Black Panther Party’s Illinois chapter who formed the city of Chicago’s first “Rainbow Coalition.” Hampton was killed during a raid on his residence by Chicago police officers.
The youngest child of Francis and Iberia Hampton, Fred was raised in the Chicago suburbs with his brother and sister. Among his family’s acquaintances was Emmett Till, a Black child whom Iberia had babysat. In 1955, when Till was a teenager visiting relatives in Mississippi, he was lynched by local white men. The Hampton family’s connection with Till, along with their experience of racial inequity in their suburban community, made Fred keenly aware of racial injustice.
‘It’s Devastating to Grasp the Violence [and] Collective Trauma of Systemic Racism Across Families, Communities[, and] Generations [and to] Know How Little Has Changed’
The names in the tweet were so recognizable and their deaths so historically significant that it made it difficult to imagine that these links existed — knowing that Hampton’s mother’s grief at Till’s death was compounded exponentially when her own son was murdered fifteen years later, and that Floyd’s partner mourned him, only to lose one of her students in the exact same way less than a year after Floyd was murdered.
However, both claims were true. Daunte Wright’s aunt disclosed his connection to Floyd on April 12 2021, and Hampton’s acquaintance with Till was documented (resurfacing in passing when a Hampton biopic was released in early 2021).