19 black families buy 97 acres of land in Georgia to build a safe town for people of color
Rural Georgia is about to become home of a ‘safe space’ for black families.
Several African-American families have bought a 97-acre tract of land which they plan to use to create a safe city, Daily Mail reports. The town, which will be named Freedom, is expected to be built on land purchases in August that is situated east of Macon, Georgia, in Wilkinson County.
Ashley Scott, a real estate agent, and her friend Renee Walters, an investor, share this initiative is their attempt to ‘fix a broken system’. They describe themselves as ‘a black-owned, woman-owned, family-owned, veteran-managed, limited liability company’.
“We figured we could try to fix a broken system or we could start fresh. This is how we build our new Black Wall Streets. We can do this. We can have Wakanda. We just have to build it for ourselves.”
“Welcome to Freedom!”
In an interview with CNN, Scott claimed that white ‘pro-black’ people would also have the opportunity to apply to live in the town of Freedom. She said:
“I’m hoping that it will be a thriving safe haven for people of color, for black families in particular. It’s impossible to have anything exclusively black because our families are integrated. We are an integrated, tolerant and diverse community even as Black people, so we don’t intend for it to be exclusively Black, but we do intend for it to be pro Black in every way.”
Both women were moved by the massive wave of unrest triggered by the police killings of black people, including George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. They felt the need to establish a community of their own where people would feel protected and free. Scott added:
“Watching our people protesting in the streets, while it is important, and I want people to stay out in the streets, bringing attention to the injustices of black people. We needed to create a space and a place where we could be a village, again, a tribe, again. We wanted to create this safe space where we can address our own issues and concerns.”
The founders want to create a place where black people can openly ‘address their own issues and concerns’.
The town is planned to be developed in stages. First, they will clear the land, farm it, and create a man-made lake for sustainable fishing. Then, they will be ready to submit a request for a city charter.
Scott and Walters organized the Freedom Georgia Initiative after Renee saw an announcement offering the sale of the entire town of Toomsboro. However, soon after, it became apparent that the town was not for sale. But with the skills of a real estate agent, Ashley found the perfect land in the area.
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Freedom ga initiative land… just a few days before the land will be filled with tents, campers, family, djs, parties, performances, workshops an so much more…@bigblackcampout Get your tents, your campers, your RVs and pull up to the BIG BLACK Campout for 3 days of outdoor adventures. Starting on Friday, September 4th at 3PM we will be enjoying nature in all it's splendor along with music, local performing artists, yoga, workshops, vendors, and more! We are masking up and safely social distancing on 96.71 acres of private Black-owned land in Toomsboro, GA. #camping #glamping #thebigblackcampout #family #music #livedj #workshops #labordayweekend
Friends and relatives of both women were highly motivated to become part of their new community. Presently, a total of 19 families are working on the project. Walters said:
“We both have black husbands. We both have black sons. And I was starting to get overwhelmed and have a sense of anxiety when my husband will leave the house to go to work. So, it was like, OK, what can we do? And once I saw the post of Toomsboro going viral, about a town being on sale, I was like, ‘Oh, this is perfect’.”
Although building an entire city from scratch can take decades, the families involved are hoping to accomplish their dream of a safe space as soon as possible.
The town of Freedom will be located just outside Toomsboro in unincorporated Wilkinson County.
According to Scott, 19 families are just not enough, so she hopes the community will expand to at least 200. She told WGXA-TV:
“We want especially our Black families to come to be pioneers with us. At the end of the day, we aren’t about doing reverse racism or reverse redlining. We just want to have a space, a place where black people and pro-black people can live and breathe without the injustices we are facing in our current cities and societies.”
By the end of their development plan, they hope to have a fully operational, self-sufficient city. They are hoping that Putting Freedom, Georgia on the map will create ‘a piece of legacy’ for generations ahead.