“I’m a movement by myself, but we’re a force when we’re together”, in the words of Neyo. That is what this inspiring story puts me in the mind of. A real estate agent by the name of Ashley Scott, along with her bff (investor and entrepreneur) Renee Walters gathered up 19 Black families to purchase 97 acres of land. They were both empowered to facilitate a ‘safe space’ for Black families.
At such a time as this, living in a high racial climate that continues to skyrocket beyond belief, the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, and even closer to home Ahmaud Arbery…the two women couldn’t help but wonder how a large plot of land might start a new community, one that would recycle the Black dollar. They wanted something they would control and purchase on their own.
“I’m hoping that it will be a thriving safe haven for people of color, for Black families in particular, Scott says. She continues, “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 dollar is circulating in our community, that is our vision.”
“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,” Scott stated with pure conviction.
According to CNN, Scott received a call from Walters about a sale ad for the purchase of a whole town called Toomsboro, for $1.7 million. Located in east of Macon in rural Wilkinson County, Georgia, the town includes a historic inn, a syrup mill, an opera house, a railroad depot, a cotton warehouse, a restaurant a barbershop a water wheel, a grist mill, a work shop, a filling station, and several houses . “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 to go to work,” said Walters. “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.”
But wait! However, the mayor of Toomsboro made it clear that the town itself was not for sale, but they did find acres of land right outside of the rural town.
“It was such a beautiful piece of land. It was affordable, and it just made sense that we could create something that would be amazing for our families,” said Scott.
They decided to see what family and friends might be interesting in joining, birthing the Freedom Georgia Initiative. Their goal is to thread a whole city together with the same community mindset, naming this city Freedom, Georgia.
They plan to develop the land in stages, according to CNN, “hoping to grow it within a few years, in hopes of having a fully operational, self-sufficient city–putting Freedom Georgia completely on the map.
“Just like for Black Wall Street, their dollars circulated around 11 times before it left the community”, Walters said.