A group of 19 black families has bought 97 acres in rural Wilkinson County, Georgia to establish a city founded by black families that would be a ‘safe haven.’
The planned black cooperative town, which will be called Freedom, is set to be built on land purchases in August that sits just east of Macon, Georgia in Wilkinson County.
The project is the brainchild of real estate agent Ashley Scott and her friend, Renee Walters, an investor, and entrepreneur. ‘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 a fictional African city of the children’s 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.’
Scott told WGXA-TV that 19 families is just not enough.
Their goal is to eventually expand to 200 families. The initiative’s founders say they are not interested in restricting the town to just African Americans.
‘We want especially our black families to come to be pioneers with us,’ says Scott.
‘At the end of the day we aren’t about doing reverse racism or reverse redlining,’ says Scott.
‘We just want to have a space, a place where black people and pro-black people can live and breath without the injustices we are facing in our current cities and societies.’
Can Freedom become a city?
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.’
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