'Anxiety' Stirs 2 Women to Take a Very Bold Step

Ashley Scott and Renee Walters are creating the Freedom Georgia Initiative
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 13, 2020 4:00 PM CDT
Families Buy Land for an All-Black City
Renee Walters and Ashley Scott.   (YouTube)

Welcome to the Freedom Georgia Initiative. So far it's just 96 acres of dirt roads and trees, but two pioneering women foresee much more: a safe space for Blacks in trying times, CNN reports. "I'm hoping that it will be a thriving safe haven for people of color, for Black families in particular," says co-founder Ashley Scott. "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." Scott, a real estate agent, and her friend Renee Walters, an investor-entrepreneur, bought the unincorporated Georgia land along with 19 families and celebrated with a ribbon-cutting last Saturday, WGXA reports.

"We both have Black husbands. We both have Black sons," says Walters. "And I was starting to get overwhelmed and have a sense of anxiety when my husband will leave the house to go to work. So, it was like, OK, what can we do?" They initially hoped to buy the ready-built town of Toomsboro for $1.7 million, but when that fell through they snapped up the rural land instead. Scott says the community won't be fully Black—their families are integrated, after all—but it will be "pro Black in every way." They hope to build in a few years and incorporate as the city of Freedom, Georgia. There's a long history of Blacks creating their own communal towns, including municipalities built by ex-slaves after the Civil War and, later on, by Blacks expelled from their communities. (More Blacks stories.)

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