Shortly after the Civil War ended many African Americans found towns sprang up all over the country and was named, “Freedom”. The same name was selected by the residents of a newly established area established between Atlanta and Augusta Georgia.
Most people today have heard of the Black Wall Street and how it was destroyed. Greenwood, Oklahoma was a historic freedom town. An African American town located near Tulsa, Oklahoma. As one of the most prominent concentrations of African-American businesses in the United States during the early 20th century, it was popularly known as America’s “Black Wall Street”.
It was destroyed by a riot in 1921. The Tulsa’s race massacre lasted from May 31, 1921 – Jun 1, 1921. The Tulsa race massacre took place when mobs of white residents, many of them deputized and given weapons by city officials, attacked African Americans residents and businesses of the Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Number of deaths: 36
Weapons: Explosive, Incendiary device.
The Tulsa Massacre is in the back of the minds of many when they heard about the women grand idea in the midst of civil unrest and a pandemic.
The town of Toombsboro wasn’t for sale, as Mayor Joyce Denson confirmed with WGXA back in June, but over 96 acres of nearby unincorporated land was sold and is presently being settled. This planted an idea in Georgia realtor Ashley Scott’s mind and kicked off a movement that in 45 days has come to be known as The Freedom Georgia Initiative.
Something similar was attempted over a 155 years ago by General Sherman after the Civil War ended. He doled out land taken by the Union Army to former slaves. But President Johnson, a Southern Sympathizer, returned to the land to the planters.
‘Freedom, Georgia’: Black families making safe space for Black people in Wilkinson County
Many feels it’s a great idea that 19 African Americans families purchase 97 acres of land to create safe city for Black people since the present system seemed unable to protect African Americans for systemic racist that stems from slavery and Jim Crow.
Amid protests over the police killings of several African Americans men and women, a group of 19 African Americans families has come together to purchase 96.71 acres of land in Toomsboro, Georgia. The group plans to build a new city in the area.
Ashley Scott, a Georgia-based realtor, started The Freedom Georgia Initiative with a group of friends.
“Our vision is 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,” the group explains on their website.
“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!”
In an op-ed for Blavity, Scott explained that the idea came after the death of Ahmaud Arbery, an African American man who was killed by a group of white men while out on a jog.
“I sought counseling from an African American 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.
“We are dealing with deep-rooted issues that will require more than protesting in the streets. It will take for us as a people, as Atlanta rapper and activist Killer Mike so eloquently put, ‘To plot, plan, strategize, organize and mobilize.’ So that’s what I and my good friend Renee Walters, an entrepreneur and investor, did.”
“We considered the reality that even in Atlanta, with an exceptional Black woman like Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, there was still no respect for the humanity of Blacks. That even with Erika Shields, a Black woman Chief of Police at the helm, there was the murder of Rayshard Brooks. We can see there is something much deeper happening. Politics, as usual, isn’t the answer. Something new has to happen.”
“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 explains. “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.”
Together with Renee Walters, an entrepreneur and investor, Scott attended local city council and zoning meetings. They then assembled a group of 19 families and purchased the land.
“We figured we could try to fix a broken system, or we could start fresh,” Scott wrote. “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’s plan for the land includes Black farmers, vendors, and contractors.
“Amass land, develop affordable housing for yourself, build your own food systems, build manufacturing and supply chains, build your own home school communities, build your own banks and credit unions, build your own cities, build your own police departments, tax yourselves and vote in a mayor and a city council you can trust,” Scott added.
“Build it from scratch! 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.”
I wish them well and hope their dream works.