A group of 19 African American families have bought a 97-acre tract of land in rural Georgia which they plan to use to create a city that will serve as a ‘safe space’ for black families.
The planned black cooperative town, which will be known as Freedom, is slated to be built on land purchases in August that sits just east of Macon, Georgia in Wilkinson County.
It is the brainchild of real estate agent Ashley Scott and her friend, Renee Walters, an investor and entrepreneur. The two women are holding fundraisers to help pay for the initiative and describe themselves as a 'a black-owned, woman-owned, family-owned, veteran-managed, limited liability company'.
‘We figured we could try to fix a broken system or we could start fresh. This is how we build our new Black Wall Streets. We can do this. We can have Wakanda. We just have to build it for ourselves,' Scott said. Wakanda is the fictional African city of the Black Panther comic book series.
White people who are 'pro-black people' can also apply to live there. Scott told CNN: 'I'm hoping that it will be a thriving safe haven for people of color, for black families in particular.
'It's impossible to have anything exclusively black because our families are integrated. 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.
'So much land was stolen from black people. So much land was stolen from indigenous peoples. So, to be able to come back and reclaim this land from whoever may have had it, because we don't know the story and that's the reality.
'We don't know so many of our stories, but we can make a new story and that's what we hope to do here.'
A group of 19 black families purchased 97 acres of land in Wilkinson County, Georgia, which they plan to turn into a black-founded city called Freedom
The planned black cooperative town will serve as a 'safe haven' for African Americans, according to the leaders of the project
Renee Walters, an investor and entrepreneur, is one of the two women leading the Freedom Georgia Initiative
The land is located in an unincorporated part of Wilkinson County, Georgia, some 120 miles southeast of Atlanta
By law in Georgia, a new city must be at least one square mile in size and have a population of 200 people per square mile.
At least 60 per cent of the area must be used for residential, industrial, commercial, or government purposes.
It would also need to be densely populated; at least 60 percent of the land developed has to be five acres or less in size.
And to have at least six council meetings a year.
The Georgia General Assembly would then need to approve a city charter.
Rusi Patel, legal council with the Georgia Municipal Association, said: 'If it's not viable, they aren't going to pursue it.
'Sometimes folks want new cities because they don't like who is elected currently, and that's not always a great reason, because you can run for office against that person if you don't like who represents you.'
Within the first two years of the charter’s approval, the new city would have to provide at least three municipal services for residents.
Patel added: 'A new city basically has two years to get themselves up and running before that law kicks in.'
The two women were moved by the unrest that was triggered by the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
After the February 23 fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery came to light, Scott and Walters felt the need to search for a new community that they could start on their own.
Scott and Walters now plan to develop the land in stages.
Initially, there are plans to clear the land, farm it, and create a man-made lake for sustainable fishing.
The work is necessary before submitting a request for a city charter.
‘Watching our people protesting in the streets, while it is