Nuwaubians' annual festival gets
Group's attorney planning appeal to get members back on
The Macon Telegraph, June 24, 2000
By Rob Peecher
EATONTON - The United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors' annual
festival began Friday, and at least a portion of the
festival will involve political activities.
This is the second year in a row that the annual festival to
honor Malachi York, referred to in Nuwaubian literature as
the group's "supreme grand master," comes in the middle of
the group's ongoing legal battle with county officials.
Last year, buildings on the 476-acre village west of
Eatonton were padlocked as members held their celebrations
outside in the heat and rain. This year, the festivities
will be put on hold at least twice by political activities.
With the continuation of hearings by the county Board of
Registrars, which have resulted in 36 members of the group
being purged from the voter rolls of Putnam County, the
Nuwaubians are planning activities to protest what they term
discrimination and profiling.
A program for the 12-day festival promises fishing
tournaments and fish fries, puppet shows and family movies,
volleyball tournaments and a beach party, with no mention of
But a Nuwaubian Web site encourages members to attend the
annual summer convention of the Georgia Association of Black
Elected Officials in Savannah today. And a rally has been
scheduled from 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday on the lawn of the Putnam
The Putnam County Sheriff's Office and volunteer fire
department got an unexpected invitation Friday afternoon to
the festival when a car fire spread in a grass field the
Nuwaubians were using as a parking lot, according to Sheriff
"They were parking vehicles in the grass, as high as six
inches and completely dry," Sills said. "A lady pulled up,
and as she was getting out of the car, they noticed smoke
started coming out from under the hood. They were trying to
put it out with sand, but it spread to the next car. They
quickly moved some other cars out of the way, but the fire
burned up eight cars completely."
The cause of the fire had not been determined Friday
afternoon, but Sills said he suspects the fire started when
the heat of the car's engine came into contact with the
In past years, motels in Milledgeville were booked nearly
full with Nuwaubians attending the annual festival. This
year, motel managers in Eatonton and Milledgeville reported
only a handful of Nuwaubian guests. "If they're doing it,
they're not doing it with us," said Brad Holloway, sales
manager of the Milledgeville Holiday Inn.
Holloway said that, last year, the hotel was nearly
completely booked with people attending the "York family
At the Comfort Inn in Milledgeville, manager and owner Nick
Patel said last year he had 10 to 15 rooms booked by
Nuwaubians coming from England. This year, he has about half
Another Milledgeville motel manager said the 51 rooms in her
motel have been filled with Nuwaubians in previous years,
but this year there are only 10 booked by Nuwaubians.
The program for the week's festival promises a carnival,
entertainment, fireworks and a parade. There also are times
set aside for prayers, teaching and ceremonies.