Throughout the development of the Nuwaubian Nation, unique social structures formed, serving to reflect the group’s efforts to distinguish itself from the surrounding environment. With the separatism of belief came a social separation as well. The initiation process for those seeking membership in community proved intensive, described as follows:
“On joining the community, new brothers and sisters would fill out a form and have their photographs taken. The form encouraged them to renounce their biological families. One question was: ‘How do you feel about entrusting your child to other people?’ … contact with outsiders, with former friends or blood kin was forbidden.”1
Members sought a life of physical and spiritual care through Nuwaubian instruction. In return, they gave up their freedom of association with the outside world, submitting to the social norms as determined by the group’s leaders.
Beginning in 1970 under the movement’s time as Nubian Islamic Hebrews, an official residence for communal living was established. Serious participators in the movement were expected to section themselves off from society by participating in communal living. The living quarters were divided by gender, with a separate “Green Room” designated for marital intercourse. As the powerful head, Dr. York alone had access to the quarters for the women, and critics claim all the women participating in the movement were viable candidates for his next wife or concubine. Regardless, interaction between the sexes was public in the sense that authoritative approval had to be given for marriage and even acts of intercourse.
Not only social distinction, new members submitted to a financial separation as well. Both men and women surrendered financial independence upon joining the group, trusting the leaders to distribute wealth fairly among all the members.2 As seen through the practices of initiation, regulated marriages, and wealth distribution, Nuwaubian structure placed a premium on the worthiness of their leaders to dictate each area of their lives.
In addition to what may be considered “external” propagation to the outside community, the Nuwaubians developed a system of “internal” propagation through its inter-generational structure of communally raising children. The movement developed literary sources to display Nuwaubian core values specifically to a younger audience. They also produced an array of literature counseling the young people through different phases of coming of age. These books addressed specific topics such as gender roles and familial expectations.3 Through education and constant exposure, the member’s children were groomed to reiterate the ideal community of intelligent, racially aware Nuwaubians propagating the Knowledge.
1 Susan Palmer, The Nuwaubian Nation: Black Spirituality and State Control, (Farnham, Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2010), 52.
2 Emeka C. Anaedozie, Post Civil Rights Black Nationalism: The Nuwaubian Nation of Moors’ Model, 1967-2002 (Morgan State University, 2013), 91-92.
3 Ibid., 190-191.
Dr. Malachai Z. York. “The Constitution of the United Nuawaubian Nation of Moors.” https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Constitution_of_UNNM.jpg (Accessed Nov. 29, 2018). https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en