The Nuwaubian Facts can be known through their writings and what others have written about them, and this is what we will mention in this article. At first, what’s Nuwaubian meaning or Nuwaubian religion
Is an American new religious movement founded and led by Dwight York, also known as Malachi Z. York. York began founding Black Muslim groups in New York in 1967. He changed his teachings and the names of his groups many times, incorporating concepts from Judaism, Christianity, UFO religions, and many esoteric beliefs.
In the late 1980s, he abandoned the Black Muslim theology of his movement in favor of Kemetism and UFO religion. In 1991 he took his community to settle in Upstate New York; then they moved near to Eatonton, the county seat of Putnam County in Georgia. His followers built an ancient Egypt-themed compound called Tama-Re and changed their name to the “United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors.
By 2000, the “United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors” had some 500 adherents. They drew thousands of visitors for “Savior’s Day” (York’s birthday, June 26). Adherence declined steeply after York was convicted of numerous counts of child molestation and financing violations, and sentenced to 135 years in federal prison in April 2004. The Tama-Re compound was sold under government forfeiture and demolished.156 The Southern Poverty Law Center described York as a “black supremacist cult leader”, and has designated the organization as a “hate group”.
The group has taken numerous names, including Ansaru Allah Community, Holy Tabernacle Ministries, United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors (after the move to Georgia), Yamassee Native American Moors of the Creek Nation (also used in Georgia when York claimed indigenous ancestry via Egyptian migration and intermarriage with the ancient Olmec) and Nuwaubian Nation of Moors.
Nuwaubian Facts In Its Own Words
“We are the Indigenous people of these shores before the settlers from Europe came to these shores spreading their way of life, their filth, and religion.”
“White people are the devil. They say the Nuwaubians are not racist – bullcrap! I am…White people are devils — always was, always will be.”
— Dwight York, from his lecture “Egipt [sic] and the Mask of God”
“Christianity is merely a tool used by the Devil (Paleman) to keep you, the Nubian (Black) man, woman, and child blind to your true heritage and perfect way of life (Islam). It is another means of slavery.”
— Dwight York, “Santa or Satan? The Fallacy of Christmas,” undated essay
“The Caucasian has not been chosen to lead the world. They lack true emotions in their creation. We never intended them to be peaceful. They were bred to be killers, with low reproduction levels and a short life span. What you call Negroid was to live 1,000 years each and the other humans 120 years. But the warrior seed of Caucasians is only 60 years old. They were only created to fight other invading races, to protect the God race Negroids. But they went insane, lost control when they were left unattended. They were never to taste blood. They did, and their true nature came out. … Because their reproduction levels were cut short, their sexual organs were made the smallest so that the female of their race will want to breed with Negroids to breed themselves out of existence after 6,000 years. It took 600 years to breed them, part man and part beast.”
— Dwight York letter dated Nov. 10, 2004, “This is your message Najwa and Davina, Kirsten.”
The History Of Nuwaubian Religion:
During the 1970s, the group set up bookstores and chapters in Trinidad; Baltimore, Maryland; and Washington, D.C. According to former follower Saadik Redd, York had between 2,000 and 3,000 followers during the 1970s. Its headquarters was in Bushwick, Brooklyn, until 1983. A portion of the community moved to Sullivan County, New York, to a site they called Camp Jazzir Abba. More people stayed in Brooklyn until about 1991.
A Muslim cleric, Bilal Philips, published The Ansar Cult in America in 1988, denouncing the movement as un-Islamic. Phillips relied heavily on testimonies of former adherents in describing the group’s beliefs and practices
In the late 1980s, York borrowed from numerous religious and esoteric traditions beyond Islam, creating the “Nuwaubian” movement. York styled his movement in a mixture of Ancient Egypt and Native American themes. He legally changed his name again, from “Issa Al Haadi Al Mahdi” to “Malachi York,” effective March 12, 1993
Former follower Robert J. Rohan had a critical view of York’s changes, as noted in this interview:
Malachi York came up with the idea to move down South … because he was under FBI investigation… He provided us as his followers the bogus rationale that we were moving down South to meet our spiritual parents. (He) always was quick to forget that he gave more than one reason for many changes that he introduced throughout the organization.
After moving to Georgia, York and his followers claimed affiliation with Masons and with the Jewish, Christian, and Egyptian faiths. “Once he started changing religious ideas, the older followers became skeptical and left the group,” Rohan said. “That was what happened to me.”
Among its themes, the Nuwaubians borrowed a claim to indigenous ancestry, perhaps from the Washitaw Nation (a Louisiana Black separatist group led by an eccentric ’empress’). They claimed to be indigenous people, named Yamasee (claiming affiliation with the confederation of Muscogee (Creek) Native American nations in the Georgia area) as well as “Moors.” They claimed a prehistoric migration to America “before the continents drifted apart”. At this point, the group called itself “Yamassee Native American Moors of the Creek Nation”. During the early 2000s, York presided at Tama-Re styled as “Our Own Pharoah NETER A’aferti Atum-Re”, leader and chief mystagogue of “The Ancient Egyptian Order.”
Nuwaubian Religion Facts:
York brought his following to Putnam County in the early 1990s and established the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors right down the road from Eatonton, Georgia. After establishing himself as the cult leader, he would don a new name: Malachi York.
It was outside Eatonton where York would build his new cult compound: a sprawl of Egyptian structures and pyramids called Tama-Re.
The cult compound might have settled on a theme, but the exact ideology of the cult was hard to pinpoint at times.
“York’s ideology literally would just change overnight from, and I don’t know, just one bizarre thing to the next,” explained Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills.
Sheriff Sills would eventually find himself at the center of the conflict between the cult and authorities later down the road.
“But, the dominant theology, or belief, was that black people were the original people on the Earth that can be traced back to Egypt and that black people should be called Moors,” added Dr. Chester Fontenot.
While the ideology may seem crazy to some, it was enough to attract others.
“There were several hundred people who were part of the Nuwaubian group. About a hundred or so lived on the property, but there were several hundred that lived in other areas. There were those that lived right here in Macon-Bibb,” added Dr. Fontenot.
At some points in the cult’s life, the follower count would continue to climb.
“But on Savior’s Day, which was his birthday, every year they had the same Savior’s Day celebration. At one point in time there were over 5,000 people on the compound,” added Sheriff Sills.
No matter where they lived, cult members were expected to contribute back to the group.
“He wanted them out where they could make money, in terms of giving money to the cult, for lack of a better term,” said Sills. “Women did all of his work. Men solicited money on the street and did his dirty work.”
Things were quiet enough in the early days of the Nuwaubians’ time here in Putnam County. But, the inner workings of the cult’s ideology were starting to shift.
“Malachi York declared himself a sovereign over the nation. Prophet, a messenger of God. He knew the correct things to do. Other people were in error when it concerned people of African descent,” explained Dr. Fontenot. “That usually is the key point where these kinds of groups go awry.”
Then the trouble started. Much of it has to do with the secrecy of Tama-Re.
At the time, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office said that many buildings on Tama-Re were not county approved, requiring building inspectors to check them out. But, armed guards stood at the entrance of York’s compound, preventing anyone from entering.
“What’s a building inspector supposed to do when there are people standing there with guns? And then that ended up in my lap,” questioned Sills.
Eventually, York would declare the Nuwaubian Nation a sovereign state, separate from the United States. That only drove a wedge through an already tense relationship with law enforcement.
Little did authorities know that York’s crimes would escalate to something much worse.
“By late 1998, we got the first report of some child molestation that was going on,” said Sheriff Sills.
That’s what drew the attention of the FBI.
Working with federal agencies, Sheriff Sills and the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office started looking intensely into the criminal activities of York.
“This was probably the biggest child molestation case in the history of America,” claimed Sills.
Tama-Re was put under constant surveillance in the early months of 2002.
While investigating York and the Nuwaubians, Sheriff Sills and other county officials were under constant torment from the cult.
“It was relentless. I have people today that can’t conceive the day in day out harassment that, especially I, had,” explained Sills. “They had printed about three or four hundred prints of my child, who’s at the time probably not, what, about eight years old. We later learned they distributed them to various members of the cult. They literally followed me everywhere I went. Literally.
Behind closed doors, federal and state authorities were planning on raiding Tama-Re.
“I’ve been a police officer for some sort of 47 years now and this honestly was the best-kept secret ever in the history of Georgia,” claimed Sheriff Sills.
19 years ago, on May 8, 2002, authorities finally stormed the pseudo-Egyptian compound after months of planning.
“Within 30 minutes of us hitting that compound, we had everybody, every adult, in handcuffs and on the ground. And nobody was hurt. Nobody” added Sills.
Cult leader Dwight York was arrested in Milledgeville that same day, nearly a decade after first setting foot in Putnam County.
Charged with 209 counts of sexual abuse, child molestation, and others on the state and federal level, York was sentenced almost two years after the raid in January of 2004.
“And was sentenced to 135 years in the federal penitentiary and he’s been there ever since,” added Sills.
Without York and a strong hierarchy, the cult nearly dissolved. The Nuwaubian Nation may not be at the strength it was nearly two decades ago, but that doesn’t mean it’s gone.
“Some of them are still here in Macon, Georgia. In Macon-Bibb in fact. Some still maintain that they are still carrying on the Nuwaubian theology and message and ministry,” explained Dr. Fontenot.
Tama-Re was sold off by the government to private owners. Money from the sale was split between federal agencies and the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office.
Now, nothing of its Egyptian legacy remains. Today, a hunting lodge and sprawling fields stand in place of Tama-Re.
“The big gate compound entrance, I had personally bulldozed it down and took down the Nuwaubian flag and raised the United States flag,” added Sheriff Sills.
As everyone passed through Tama-Re’s gate one last time, so too would the Nuwaubians pass through everyone’s minds less and less.
“The average person probably knows nothing about it today,” said Sills.