This article is part of The Pilot’s look back at the 10 biggest, non-coronavirus news stories of 2020.
The death of George Floyd while in the custody of the Minneapolis, Minnesota Police Department galvanized the nation in late May and early June, and Moore County was no different.
In Southern Pines, hundreds of people knelt in silence for nearly nine minutes in downtown Southern Pines in honor of Floyd. The silent tribute was timed to last the approximately 8 minutes and 46 seconds that a police officer pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck. Floyd was born in nearby Fayetteville and had a public viewing in Raeford before his burial.
The event in Southern Pines, billed as a peace vigil, was organized by the Moore County NAACP. O’Linda Watkins, the group’s president, called on the many masked mourners in attendance to “move from anger to action.”
The peaceful protests continued when a procession of 379 vehicles traveled the next day from the park beside the National Guard Armory in Southern Pines. The caravan, which moved through Aberdeen and Pinehurst before returning to the park, was organized by the N.C. Impact Coalition.
That event was followed a few days later by an equality march in Aberdeen.