We’re commemorating Black History Month by sharing a behind-the-scenes look at designs that celebrate and serve predominantly African American communities while honoring their unique histories.
To start, we’re excited to share the new master plan for Resora near Albany, Georgia. Resora is the site of the new headquarters for New Communities, a nonprofit dedicated to providing equitable economic opportunities for African American farmers and to stewarding community farmland. The grassroots organization empowers African American individuals and families through hands-on agribusiness education and social justice advocacy.
The 1,638-acre site of Resora is a relic of the Old South, a former plantation once cultivated by the forced labor of enslaved African Americans. The new master plan reframes and modernizes the historic site to tell a more positive, equitable story—connecting people to their land, their history, and each other.
At the heart of Resora is a farm laboratory for research, innovation, and education in agriculture and agribusiness. A central retreat and conference center are envisioned as an international destination for research, knowledge sharing, and cross-cultural collaboration.
Resora will be a place where, as New Communities founder Shirley Sherrod puts it, “we can both farm the land, and also nurture the minds of the people.”
New Communities was founded in 1969 as a farm collective and safe haven for black farmers on 5,735 acres in Lee County, Georgia. Its founders, Charles and Shirley Sherrod, worked to support black families who were being driven from their land for participating in the Civil Rights Movement. Unfortunately, the land was lost to foreclosure after a severe drought in 1985, where black farmers were refused emergency loans that were offered to white farmers. In 2009, New Communities was granted restitution as part of the Pigford v. Glickman class action lawsuit, and began to rebuild. Today, New Communities envisions its future as “a thriving organization that is a global model for community empowerment through agribusiness, education, social awareness, and wealth building.”