A Group Of Black Families Bought 97 Acres Of Land To Build A City For Black People From Scratch
"We figured we could try to fix a broken system, or we could start fresh," said co-founder Ashley Scott.
Thanks to The Freedom Georgia Initiative, a Black-owned, woman-owned, family-owned, veteran-managed, limited liability company, Black people in Toomsboro, Georgia, will get a whole new city. A group of 19 Black families have joined together to buy 96.71 acres of land in the area, and they have ambitious plans.
The Freedom Georgia Initiative was started by Georgia-based realtor Ashley Scott and a group of her friends. In an op-ed for Blavity, Scott revealed that the idea for the new city came after the death of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man who was killed by a group of white men while out jogging.
“I sought counseling from a Black therapist, and it helped. It helped me to realize that what we as Black people are suffering from is racial trauma. We are dealing with systemic racism,” Scott wrote.
The group’s website goes into detail about their vision “to develop our vast resource-rich 96.71 acres of land in Toomsboro, GA for the establishment of an innovative community for environmentally sustainable-living, health & wellness, agricultural & economic development, arts & culture for generations to come.”
It continues, “Our aim is to be a premier recreational, educational, and cultural destination for Black families across the African diaspora. We welcome you, your family, and all Black allies to support us in our vision to be the change we want to see!”
The initiative posted a photo from the land on their Facebook page, writing, “Dreams do come true if you just change your thinking, believe it can happen, do the work, and surround yourself with likeminded people.”
“We discovered the viral post about Toomsboro, Georgia, for sale and we joined several Facebook groups discussing building Black cities and new Black Wall Streets — and we were here for it,” Scott wrote in her op-ed. “It was clear to me that developing new cities was necessary because these old ones, even with strong Black leadership, have too many deep-rooted problems.”
Scott attended local city council and zoning meetings, at first to look for new clients. But she learned a lot along the way about local politics and how cities work.
“My research into cityhood gave me insight that this is how we change our communities and build real Black power,” she wrote.
For Scott and Renee Walters, an entrepreneur and investor, the next step was to assemble a group of 19 families and purchase the land, which will give work to Black farmers, vendors and contractors.
“We figured we could try to fix a broken system, or we could start fresh,” Scott wrote at Blavity. “Start a city that could be a shining example of being the change you want to see. We wanted to be more involved in creating the lives we really want for our Black families, and maybe, just maybe, create some generational wealth for ourselves by investing in the land. Investing in creating a community that is built around our core values and beliefs.”
Scott said that during these difficult times, Black families should pool resources, vote, organize and “tap into our collective knowledge.” She called upon Black people to create their own affordable housing, food systems, banks and credit unions, schools and police departments.
“Build it from scratch!” she wrote. “Then go get all the money the United States of America has available for government entities and get them bonds. This is how we build our new Black Wall Streets.”
Scott is running a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to build amenities on the land. As of Sept. 4, they have more than $20,000 pledged toward their $88,000 goal.