Religious sect plans
Nuwaubians' leader will hold private New
Year's celebration in Athens' downtown Classic Center
Morris News Service/December 31, 1999
By Jim Thompson
Athens, Ga. -- More than 1,000 members of a quasi-religious
sect led by a man who has claimed to be from another galaxy
-- and has said ships will descend from the sky in 2003 to
claim a selected 144,000 people for "rebirth" -- are
expected to be at the Classic Center in downtown Athens
today for a private New Year's Eve observance.
The United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors, which has operated
compound in the Putnam County town of Eatonton since 1993
that has housed as many as 400 people at one time, has
reserved part of the Classic Center for a $100-per-ticket
event that Classic Center officials are describing as a
private social affair.
Citing the private nature of the event, the only information
Classic Center officials would provide Wednesday were the
number of people expected and the fact that the event would
not involve food service.
The Nuwaubians' leader, known as Malachi York and, more
recently, as Chief Black Eagle -- the deed for the group's
476-acre Putnam County compound identifies him as Dwight
York -- has been living in Athens since sometime last year,
according to law enforcement officials and other sources.
Mr. York is not listed in the Athens telephone book.
The group also operates at least two bookstores in Athens
under the name Holy Tabernacle Ministries. One of the
bookstores is located at 1072 Baxter St. The second is
located on Gaines School Road near Lexington Road. The
Nuwaubians also had a float in this year's Black Men of
Athens parade. The identity and beliefs of the group have
shifted periodically since Mr. York emerged in New York in
1970, in his late 20s.
One of the group's more recent names has been the Yamassee
Native American Nuwaubians.
In the early days in New York, Mr. York's followers were
known as Ansaar Pure Sufi, the Nubian Islaamic Hebrews, the
Ansaaru Allah Community and the Ancient and Mystic Order of
Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills, who has closely tracked
the group's activities since its arrival in his county six
years ago, said he does not believe the New Year's Eve event
at the Classic Center will involve any type of millennial
"I would not anticipate any sort of problem," Sheriff Sills
said. "It certainly would be counterproductive to him
Sheriff Sills believes that the event will be something of
an homage to Mr. York from the sect's true believers.
"I imagine this is going to be his gala event," Sheriff
Sills said. According to Athens-Clarke Mayor Doc Eldridge,
the Nuwaubians have held similar events at the Cobb Galleria
in metropolitan Atlanta, and representatives of that venue
reported no problems with the group. While Sheriff Sills
estimates that only a few hundred Nuwaubians have occupied
the Eatonton compound at any one time, he estimates that
Nuwaubian adherents in north Georgia could number "in the
>From a law enforcement standpoint, the Nuwaubians have not
been an inordinate problem in Putnam County, according to
Sheriff Sills, although a number of Nuwaubians have been
arrested for possession of "bootleg audio and video tapes."