Some suggest it is hard to find any good news during the pandemic. Truth be told, I have felt the same way consciously refusing to look at all the propaganda news everyday just so I can maintain balance in mind, body and spirit. Yet, if one cares to look deeper you can find evidence of unexpected positive changes and opportunity. Some folks are getting “blessed” during the pandemic as they are being forced to rethink possibilities even beyond what they see. I’ve even read media stories and talked to few people directly with incredible new business ventures forcing me to alter my perspective and outlook. So today, I want to highlight entrepreneurial ingenuity.
“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”William Faulkner
The above quote was used as a foreshadowing prelude to the provocative, artsy film “Antebellum,” which literally displayed the stronghold existing between America’s historical past deeply connected to the original sin of slavery and the current American cultural angst. It is after viewing this film, with so much promise and seeing its failure to adequately bridge the story telling gap between the HIS-torical narrative and today, that I remembered two incredible examples illustrating the profound point suggested in the film.
In the aftermath of the murder of Ahmaud Arbery in 2020, many Americans may not know about the purchase of land in Georgia by 19 black families. The new location, called “Freedom GA” comprised of nearly 97 acres of unincorporated land near the town of Toomsboro and about 130 miles south of Atlanta, is being called a safe haven for black residents. This is a significant undertaking and quite an extraordinary milestone especially since the area has had a deeply troubled HIS-tory with slavery, lynching and the oppression of blacks. In fact, on August 30, 1871, Matthew Deason, a former Confederate soldier and elected sheriff of Wilkinson County, and his black mistress (whose name is not known) were lynched in Toomsboro by members of the Ku Klux Klan. The area also holds the title as the first documented lynching of a black woman in Georgia after the American Civil War.
In spite of its hideous past, these new 19 black land owners are planning to make the site an enclave representing “heaven on earth” for black people, run by black people. These families came up with this idea because they wanted a safe place to raise their families without fear of police brutality or other forms of oppression embedded within American society. The whole idea is incredible, visionary and entrepreneurial all at the same time. And, it happened during a national pandemic and under a wave of police misconduct! WOW!
The Town of Freedom is not up and running yet but it will have all the features of a community (infrastructure, businesses and eventually homes) when it’s completed. The founders have made a commitment to not exclude anyone (making a commitment to coexist – welcoming all) but they still intend for it to be a pro-Black town. Phase 1 will include clearing and farming the land. They will also create a man-made lake to use for sustainable fishing. This effort is a massive undertaking, and will presumably take years before it might be considered viable. These 19 families have a purpose and demonstrated a commitment worthy of high honor. The most encouraging aspect about this story is the notion of the collective coming together with a vision to create something Nu. If allowed to prosper without internal or external interference or corruption, this community will reflect the endless choices inherently possible within a vision for our Nu Amẹríkà. It is worthy of acknowledgement and praise.
At the same time in 2020, America’s ugly past is rearing its head full of hatred, discrimination and injustice. It has become clear we have not learned from the previous mistakes and only put a bandaid on wounds that have continued to fester. A little over a century ago in September 30, 1919, for example, American solders from Camp Pike once led captured black tenant farmers in Elaine, Arkansas, to their untimely death. What was the black farmer’s crime? They were unionizing to obtain fair prices for their cotton and attempting, in some cases, to buy their own farms. Some of the black men had returned from World War I expecting to be treated equitably after their military service. They had given up on receiving the dream of acquiring “40 acres and a mule” as promised by the US government to their ancestors after the American Civil war. Yet, these families were still willing to try to make the effort to improve their lot in life through hard work, energy and effort. Unfortunately, their collective strategy to unionize and increase their self-sufficiency were thwarted by outside interests wanting to keep control over the farming and cotton market. Sadly, one of their own people (double agent) spread a false rumor of an upcoming black revolt with potential murders against the white land owners. The unfortunate battle of agendas came to a point of no return during a confrontation between the whites and some of the black farmers at a church attended by the farmers. No one could say who shot first but mayhem ensued with church attendees fleeing with their children. Over the next few days, entire families of blacks (men, women and children) were sought out and killed.
This tragically, heart breaking story is reminder of what lies beneath the surface in our current democracy. A tug of war between our grandest ideals and the insidious nature of fear, hatred and greed simmering in our society. It has always been about POWER. I question whether history will repeat itself once more and if our collective commitment to freedom and democracy is strong enough to prevail. Are we willing to fight for a more perfect union? But, there is always good news demanding to be seen and heard even in the middle of sh!t show. In the “Art of War”, the battle is not won necessary by the strong, fastest or most powerful. In the long run, it can be won by the wiser, pragmatic and more strategic characters who understand human nature – – and those who possess a vision and plan. With love being energetically the highest frequency for creation, who would have the audacity to go against a divine plan? We all have a choice to make in terms of who and what we wish to be and bring energetically (love or fear) into the world. Even a non-choice is a choice. Since all have an important role to play regardless of age, class, gender, race etc., lets repent for the past mistakes and make a commitment to approach each Nu day determined to do it better. As Nov 3 approaches, everyone needs to put on their entrepreneurial caps just like the 19 families and begin thinking of a master plan for our Nu Amẹríkà. I can already see it manifesting in my 20/20 vision. What resolution do you envision?