19 Families Come Together To Buy Land For Black Safe Space
A group of 19 black families have bought 97 acres of land in Wilkinson County, Georgia in the US, in order to create a city that can act as a safe space for the black community.
With the Black Lives Matter movement still gaining traction, in light of the police murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, the families - spearheaded by real estate agent Ashley Scott and her friend, investor and entrepreneur Renee Walters - sought to find a space a that felt safe for them.
"Being able to create a community that is thriving, that is safe, that has agriculture and commercial businesses that are supporting one another and that dollars circulating in our community, that is our vision," Scott told CNN.
Together, Scott and Walters have created the Freedom Georgia Initiative in order to purchase the land, which they hope will become a new Black city, called Freedom, Georgia.
"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," continued Scott
"We wanted to create this safe space where we can address our own issues and concerns."
The group initially found a town itself that they believed was for sale: Toomsboro was being advertised for just $1.7 million (£1.3m).
That's 'the price of a small condo', as Scott explains.
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Unfortunately it turned out that the advertisement was too good to be true, but they did then find land outside of Toomsboro.
"It was just such a beautiful piece of land," said Scott.
"It was affordable, and it just made sense that we could create something that would be amazing for our families."
Black-focused communities are nothing new in America.
Back in 1899, Hobson City in Alabama was founded after the local Black people there were kicked out of neighbouring towns. Mound Bayou in the Mississippi Delta, meanwhile, was established by former slaves after the Civil War.
"It's impossible to have anything exclusively Black because our families are integrated," says Scott.
"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."
The city, they hope, will develop in phases. First they will clear the land, before farming, as well as creating a man-made lake for sustainable fishing. Eventually they would like to have a fully self-sufficient metropolis.
Listing their hopes, Scott added: "To be able to pass this land down to my children and to the children that are represented by each of our 19 families. As a piece of legacy. We're hoping to create legacy."
Featured Image Credit: Freedom Georgia Initiative