When Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King looked to the future, he had a vision.
“I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood,” King said in his “I Have a Dream” speech.
But for real estate agent Ashley Scott and a group of 19 black families, their dream is a city founded by and for black residents.
Scott wanted to create a place “where we could be a village, again, a tribe, again,” she told CNN.
In August, the group purchased 97 acres east of Macon in Wilkinson County, Georgia, to begin making that dream come true. They have named their venture “Freedom.”
“We’re hoping to create legacy.”
A collective of 19 Black families recently bought more than 95 acres of land to create a safe community they intend to name Freedom, Georgia. https://t.co/toSx6gt0kr pic.twitter.com/AP3EJ85A3y
— CNN (@CNN) September 12, 2020
“I’m hoping that it will be a thriving safe haven for people of color, for black families in particular,” Scott said.
“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.”
She said that protests are important because they bring “attention to the injustices of black people,” but that “we wanted to create this safe space where we can address our own issues and concerns.”
Investor and entrepreneur Renee Walters said anxiety drove her involvement.
“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,” she said. “So, it was like, OK, what can we do?” she said.
The search took some time, but then they found the land they were seeking.
“It was just 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,” Scott said.
The next step will be clearing the land, farming and creating a lake for sustainable fishing.
Scott added it would be wrong to paint her as aiming to create a segregated community.
“It’s impossible to have anything exclusively black because our families are integrated,” she said.
“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.”
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