Although the Nuwaubians faced minor legal trouble during their time in New York, the bulk of the group’s encounters with the law did not begin until their relocation to Eatonton. Initially, these issues were merely zoning conflicts and complaints brought forth by surrounding residents, both related to the state of the compound–specifically, the unauthorized construction of a number of buildings and the overall aesthetic of a “40 foot pyramid as well as a statue of other ancient Egyptian gods.”1
However, these preliminary zoning conflicts and neighborly tension were only the beginning for the group’s future trouble with the law. By the early 2000s, the Nuwaubians had been under surveillance for the FBI for roughly five years and resulted in the arrest of York and his wife Kathy Johnson. This arrest resulted to a period of several years of trials and appeals, ultimately resulting in York’s convection and current sentencing at the United States Penitentiary Administrative Maximum Facility in Florence, Colorado. However, there has also been contention as to the validity of the arrest itself, while criticism of the handling of the trial also appears present.
Overall, the legal history of the Nuwaubians is a period that spans upwards ten years and encompasses both charges levied against the group as a whole and specifically York as an individual. This marks a highly significant period in the history of the Nuwaubian Nation, as following York’s arrest and conviction, activity from the group has decreased significantly. Thus, it is important to chronicle, examine and understand the nature of the myriad of legal troubles the Nuwaubians found themselves in, how this contributed to their collapse and in what ways the Nuwaubians responded to the arrest and charges brought against their leader.
1 Emeka C. Anaedozie, Post Civil Rights Black Nationalism: The Nuwaubian Nation of Moors’ Model, 1967-2002 (Morgan State University, 2013), 109.
Amber Rhea’s Gallery. “Nuwaubian Nation of Moors.” http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/3381/296/1600/DSCN1313.sized.jpg (Accessed Dec. 1, 2018) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/