A group of 19 Black families have purchased land in order to create a safe community in Georgia for Black people. According to their website, real estate agent Ashley Scott and entrepreneur and investor Renee Walters have championed the Freedom Georgia Initiative, a “Black-owned, woman-owned, family-owned, veteran-managed” project that bought nearly 100 acres of land in Wilkinson County, Georgia in order to establish a city that will be called Freedom, Georgia.
Scott told Fox 5 Atlanta that she was focused on creating a”safe haven” for Black families.
“It’s about having a place where you can be authentically black, unapologetically black and not be judged,” Scott said.
Walters added that the land will be for the 19 families that bought it and then will open up to the public for “retreats and reunions and weddings, trails for hunting, a lake for fishing and a place for us to just breathe.”
Walters and Scott raised thousands of dollars and then called on their friends and family that were also interested in buying land and started the Freedom Georgia Initiative. According to CNN, the 96 acres cost $1.7 million.
“The idea was to create an LLC that would allow us to purchase the land, be able to do businesses on the land, and capitalize on whatever might be coming to Toomsboro,” Scott told WMAZ.
Here’s what you need to know:
They Didn’t Actually Buy a City
Walters and Scott first got the idea to make the big purchase when they saw a viral post saying that a city was for sale on Toomsboroforsale.com. Once they found that the actual city wasn’t for sale, they decided to buy a piece of land that was so huge that a city could be created.
“It was just such a beautiful piece of land,” Scott told CNN. “It was affordable, and it just made sense that we could create something that would be amazing for our families.”
Police Brutality Inspired Scott & Walters to Establish Freedom, Georgia
Besides the COVID-19 pandemic, the deaths of innocent and unarmed Black people have been frequently making the news. The deaths of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Elijah McClain, who made headlines again this year even though he died in 2019, served as a catalyst for Scott and Walters to give Black families a place where they can feel secure.
“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 told CNN. “We wanted to create this safe space where we can address our own issues and concerns.”
Having a city owned and operated by Black people will help its residents feel protected, 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,” Walters added. “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.'”
Construction Won’t Begin This Year
Scott told WMAZ that the families won’t be able to begin building their homes for another year or two. Until then, the families will have land that they can go to.
“In the midst of protests, in the midst of pandemics, you can literally go out to this vast land and get your mind freed up to be creative, to think,” Scott said.
She added that she hopes they can continue to purchase land and keep it in the Black community.
“We want to be able to buy more land to come together and build communities like we did. and that’s really what it’s about, building generational wealth,” she said.