VICTIM, KINFOLKS, RAISED IN HOUSTON
By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN – Chip Northrup knows a few things about protesting.
“There was a big billboard outside of Dallas that proclaimed ‘Welcome to the Home of the John Birch Society’,” he said. “So I got a gang together and we paint-bombed the billboard. I was Antifa before Antifa was cool!”
And when he heard about the death of Houston native George Floyd, Northrup recognized the name immediately.
“Hazel Gay Floyd was our maid,” he said. “She basically raised our children growing up, and I spoke at her funeral. When I saw that George was from Houston, I thought he might be Hazel’s nephew. Hazel’s daughter married a Tate, and there was a Tate who spoke at his funeral. I never met George, but I knew the kind of man he was.”
He spoke fondly of Hazel. “She was a great big happy-go-lucky woman,” he said. “She’d turn on a soap opera like ‘All My Children’ and watch it while she was ironing, and if I was ever short with her, she would chastise me – and she was right to do so. My kids learned empathy from her. She was more human than I was.”
Her husband, Otis Floyd III, also helped around their home, as well as worked at a local barbecue restaurant. “Otis and their son Michael were always happy to help us if we needed anything,” he said. “But Otis worked himself to death shoveling wood into that barbeque pit.”
Growing up in Jim Crow-era Texas, Northrup said that many of the people who surrounded him were black. “All our domestics were black,” he said. “Since the time I was a child, I was surrounded by kindly black folks, and they were always great role models for me.”
Among his earliest memories, he said, was playing in the kitchen while his grandmother’s maid, Trudy, worked.