Say Their Names

How Black Lives Came to Matter in America


By Michael H. Cottman

By Patrice Gaines

By Curtis Bunn

By Nick Charles

By Keith Harriston

Formats and Prices




$15.99 CAD

This definitive guide to America's present-day racial reckoning examines the forces that pushed our unjust system to its breaking point after the death of George Floyd.

For many, the story of the weeks of protests in the summer of 2020 began with the horrific nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds when Police Officer Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd on camera, and it ended with the sweeping federal, state, and intrapersonal changes that followed. It is a simple story, wherein white America finally witnessed enough brutality to move their collective consciousness. The only problem is that it isn't true. George Floyd was not the first Black man to be killed by police—he wasn’t even the first to inspire nation-wide protests—yet his death came at a time when America was already at a tipping point.
In Say Their Names, five seasoned journalists probe this critical shift. With a piercing examination of how inequality has been propagated throughout history, from Black imprisonment and the Convict Leasing program to long-standing predatory medical practices to over-policing, the authors highlight the disparities that have long characterized the dangers of being Black in America. They examine the many moderate attempts to counteract these inequalities, from the modern Civil Rights movement to Ferguson, and how the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others pushed compliance with an unjust system to its breaking point. Finally, they outline the momentous changes that have resulted from this movement, while at the same time proposing necessary next steps to move forward.
With a combination of penetrating, focused journalism and affecting personal insight, the authors bring together their collective years of reporting, creating a cohesive and comprehensive understanding of racial inequality in America.

On Sale
Oct 5, 2021
Page Count
336 pages

Michael H. Cottman

About the Author

Curtis Bunn is an award-winning journalist who has written about race and sports and social and political issues for more than 30 years in Washington, D.C., New York, and Atlanta. Additionally, he is a best-selling author of ten novels that center on Black life in America.

Michael H. Cottman is an author and award-winning journalist, and the Editorial Manager of NBCBLK, a division of NBC News, that offers stories and opinions about the African American experience from the African American perspective. Cottman is a former political reporter for the Washington Post and a former reporter for the Miami Herald, among other publications. Cottman, who has received numerous awards, was also part of a Pulitzer Prize, for Newsday's coverage of a deadly subway crash in New York in 1992.
Patrice Gaines is author of the memoir Laughing in the Dark (Random House, 1995) and Moments of Grace (Random House, 1998). Gaines is a freelance writer, who was a reporter at the Washington Post for 16 years. While at the Post, she was the member of a team nominated as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. She was awarded a Soros Justice Media Fellowship to write a series of columns about the impact of incarceration on the Black community. At age 21, Gaines was found guilty of drug charges and forever labeled a “convicted felon.” In the decades since, she has spoken and taught in prisons and jails, and also lectured at colleges and conferences on brutality and failure of America’s criminal justice system. Gaines is also a justice advocate and abolitionist.
Nick Charles has reported, written, and edited for various media at domestic and international levels. He has been a reporter/writer and contributor to Long Island Newsday, Daily News, NY,  People, NPR, the Washington Post, and The Undefeated, as well many other media outlets. He was the Editor-in-Chief of AOL Black Voices and the VP of Digital Content for He's currently the Managing Director of Word In Black, a national collaborative of 10 Black-owned media and an editor and spokesperson for Save Journalism Project.
Keith Harriston is a writer based in Washington, D.C. who worked for 23 years as a senior newsroom manger, department editor, investigative reporter, and beat reporter at the Washington Post. As a reporter at The Post, Harriston twice was a nominated finalist by the Pulitzer Prize Board. Since leaving The Post, Harriston has taught journalism at American University, Howard University, and George Washington University, where he currently is a professorial lecturer in journalism.

Learn more about this author