The Nuwaubian Nation is a religious, black separatist group that formed in Brooklyn, New York in the early 1970s. Led by Dr. Dwight York, the Nuwaubians underwent a number of doctrinal and locational changes over the course of their movement. While themes of black separatism and spirituality remained at the core of the movement, the Nuwaubians additionally traversed eras encompassing Islam, Hebrew iconography, Afrocentricity, and even, following their relocation from Brooklyn to Eatonton, Georgia, claimed Creek heritage and political autonomy under their identity.

Over the course of their history, the Nuwaubians made several interesting claims to separatism and autonomy, within the context of both their black identity and their religious beliefs. Following their relocation to Eatonton, these claims clarified and intensified with the purchase of roughly 500 acres of farmland and the construction of a compound for member residence. However, following the arrest and prosecution of York in the early 2000s, the group largely fell apart without a central guiding figure. After York’s arrest, the Nuwaubians’ Eatonton compound was seized by the government, at which time the land was razed and then sold. Overall, the Nuwaubians provide an interesting case study, not only in their general trend as their claims of separatism became more political and focused, but also for how (and why) the beliefs and doctrine of a (modern) religious movement change over time.

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