10 Things To Know About The Rise And Fall of Dr. Malachi Z. York

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Written by Ann Brown
York

Dwight D. York or Malachi Z. York has a long line of adjectives behind his name — and some of them notorious. But what he most known for is as the creator and leader of the Black power group United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors, or Nuwabians. Some called the group a cult due to its religious teachings, but it was also used as a Black empowerment organization.

York began his ministry in the late 1960s. In 1967 he was preaching to the “Ansaaru Allah” (African Americans) in Brooklyn, New York, in the midst of the Black Power movement. His teachings were based on pseudo-Islamic themes and Judaism (Nubian Islamic Hebrews). Later he developed a focus centered around “Ancient Egypt,” combining ideas drawn from Black nationalism, cryptozoological and UFO religions, and popular conspiracy theory. 

York relocated the community to rural Putnam County, Georgia, in 1990 where they built a large complex.

Accolades Abound

Despite many controversies surrounding him, York did receive various accolades. He was awarded The Keys To The City by mayor Ed Koch after  cleaning up the slum and drug infested Bushwick Avenue community in New York,” Nuwaubian Facts reported.

He was also named one of the state’s 50 Most Influential Men by The Georgia Informer.

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In His Own Words

York published his first book entitled “Bible Interpretations and Explanations” that taught biblical theology from a skeptical point of view.

“Christianity is merely a tool used by the Devil (Paleman) to keep you, the Nubian (Black) man, woman, and child blind to your true heritage and perfect way of life (Islam). It is another means of slavery,” he wrote. 

In 1971 York wrote a four-part series called “The Nine Ball.”  “‘The Nine Ball’s’ subtitle was ‘Liberation Information for the Woolly-Haired People called the Ethiopian Race.’  In later lectures, Dr. Malachi Z. York says that his initial attempts at reaching his people through this teaching failed, and so he decided to adopt a more mainstream religious form, ultimately changing his name, title, and the name of the organization,” Nuwaubian Facts reported.

Beyond ET

York told his followers he was not of this Earth but from the planet Rizq. He wrote, “We have been coming to this planet before it had your life form on it…My incarnation as an Ilah Mutajassid or Avatara was originally in the year 1945 A.D. In order to get here I traveled by one of the smaller passenger crafts called SHAM out of a Motherplane called MERKABAH or NIBIRU.”

Song In His heart

Among other things York was also a singer. And actually performed as vocalist with his own groups, known as Jackie and the Starlights, the Students, and Passion.

York launched his own record label, Passion Productions, and recorded as the solo artist “Dr. York.” He released the “Only a Dream” (which was later included in the album “New York,” Hot Melt Records UK, 1985). Background vocals were by Ted Mills of the group Blue Magic.

A Religion Grows In Brooklyn

According to the New York Press, “He was based in Coney Island for a time, and operated a bookstore and a printing press on Flatbush Ave. in the ‘70s. In the ‘80s he was based in Brooklyn, on Bushwick Ave. York’s students are best remembered by New Yorkers as practitioners of orthodox Islam – members of certain New York Five Percent Nation, Nation of Islam and Arab Islamic mosques still regard the Nuwaubians as a rival faction – but at different times they followed the paths of Christianity and Judaism.” 

He then moved the group to Liberty, near the Catskills, around 1991, then to Georgia in 1993.

History Of York

York was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Though other sources give his birthplace as New Jersey, New York, Baltimore,  or even Takoradi, Ghana.

What is known is that York says that he was raised in Massachusetts, and at the age of seven went to Aswan, Egypt to study about Islam. “My grandfather, As Sayyid Abdur Rahman Al Mahdi, the Imaam of the Ansaars lived in Sudan until 1959 AD, upon looking into my eyes foretold that I was the one who would possess ‘the light.’” York says he returned to the United States in 1957 at age 12 and continued to study Islam.

Name Change

York has gone by a variety of names. In the late 1960s York began calling himself Imaam Isa. He later changed his name to Imaam Isa Abdullah.

Return to Africa

As an adult York returned to Africa, to Sudan and Egypt in particular. According to “The Ansar Cult in America,” York met and persuaded members of Mohamed Ahmed Al-Mahdi’s family to finance him to set up a cell of their organization in the United States.  And following his returned from a pilgrimage to (Egypt and Sudan), he invited Sadiq Al-Mahdi to the U.S.

Under Scrutiny

The government started to look closely at the organization as it continued to grow especially after they built Tama-Re, an Egyptian-themed “city.” 

His Downfall

York was convicted in 2004 of child molestation and violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. He is currently serving a 135-year sentence. There were also numerous reports that York had molested numerous children of his followers.

He is serving his sentence at the United States Penitentiary Administrative Maximum Facility (ADX) in Florence, Colorado.

“Many are unaware of the fact that at age 19, Dwight York was convicted of statutory rape. At the age of 19, he pleaded guilty to raping a 13-year-old girl and was given probation. However, he was imprisoned for 3 years after violating his probation for unrelated charges,” the Pan African Alliance.