Self sustaining Black community in Georgia, US.

Self sustaining Black community in Georgia, US. Image becauseofthemwecan.com/

Black the new Oranje in US city safe for Black people

Their goal is to have a community where all Black people feel safe ‘without fear of being killed just for being Black.’

Self sustaining Black community in Georgia, US.

Self sustaining Black community in Georgia, US. Image becauseofthemwecan.com/

A group of 19 Black families In Toomsboro, Georgia, US, has banded together to establish a self-sustaining Black community, akin to the White-only town of Oranje in South Africa.

Ashley Scott, a realtor along with her friend Renee Walters spearheaded The Freedom Georgia Initiative, saying “we are dealing with deep-rooted issues that will require more than protesting in the streets.”

“It will take for us as a people to plot, plan, strategize, organize and mobilize. So that’s what I and my good friend Renee Walters, did.”

She says Black people are resilient and had to thrive under systems that weren’t built for them, and this resiliency has created innovative solutions to impossible problems such as racial injustices, food insecurity, and a lack of secure and safe communities. 

Scott shares how she reached her breaking point after watching yet another murder of a black man in her home state. In an op-ed, she wrote that she was distraught, and for the first time in her life, felt disempowered, prompting her to seek help.

“I sought counseling from a Black therapist, and it helped. It helped me to realize that what we as Black people are suffering from is racial trauma.”

Cooperative economics = Real Black power

Scott and Walters purchased 96.71 acres of land in Toomsboro, Georgia, to establish a self-sustaining Black community, and after attending local zoning and city council meetings, Scott said she realized creating a new city would create change and build “real Black power.”

“We figured we could try to fix a broken system, or we could start fresh. 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.” 

The purchase of these sprawling acres comes at a time when Black land ownership has shrunk dramatically. However, recently Black families have been purchasing large acres of land to counter this loss and create a legacy for themselves.

“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. We can do this. We can have Wakanda! We just have to build it for ourselves!”

The land matters

“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,” says Scott.

After the Civil War, newly freed Africans never received the 40 acres they were promised, which led to them working to buy their own land, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) reported.

At the end of the 20th century, former slaves and their families owned more than 14 million acres of land, there were more Black farmers per capita than white ones. However, 90 percent of that land was lost by the turn of the 21st century due to the Great Migration and racist, yet legal, dispossession of land from Black owners, according to the mordernfarmer.com.

One such legal loophole that plagues Black farmers is heirs’ property, an unstable form of ownership where land is inherited through generations without a will with ownership being divided among all living descendants. 

A ProPublica report stated The US Department of Agriculture has recognized it as “the leading cause of Black involuntary land loss.” Heirs’ property is estimated to make up more than a third of Southern black-owned land — 3.5 million acres, worth more than $28 billion. 

These landowners are vulnerable to laws and loopholes that allow speculators and developers to acquire their property, the reports said, adding that Black families watch as their land is auctioned on courthouse steps or forced into a sale against their will.

Reclaiming lost land

Scott and the rest of the 19 families are reclaiming the generational wealth that has been denied Black people for generations now that they own Toomsboro and plan to equip it with Black farmers, vendors, suppliers, and contractors. 

Their goal is to have a community where all Black people feel safe and empowered.

“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,” said Scott.