Journal Article

The Final Frontier: Secrecy, Identity, and the Media in the Rise and Fall of the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors

Julius H. Bailey

in Journal of the American Academy of Religion

Published on behalf of American Academy of Religion

Volume 74, issue 2, pages 302-323
Published in print June 2006 | ISSN: 0002-7189
Published online April 2006 | e-ISSN: 1477-4585 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jaarel/lfj085
The Final Frontier: Secrecy, Identity, and the Media in the Rise and Fall of the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors

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In 1993, having purchased 476 acres approximately ten miles outside of the town of Eatonton, the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors (UNNM) moved from Brooklyn to Georgia. Since their arrival, the predominantly African-American community has been embroiled in controversy and tensions with the local authorities over zoning regulations. Through their defense of their beliefs and practices, the Nuwaubians sought at once public acceptance and protection of their sacred knowledge. Secrecy, although seemingly crucial to connecting and maintaining bonds within the fledgling tradition, raised the suspicions of the white residents of Eatonton. This article examines the history of the UNNM as one new religious movement (NRM) that has mediated its public perception in the press, while continually reworking its own “secret” and evolving communal identity. Although employing the survival strategies used by previous NRMs, in the information age of the twenty-first century, the ability to maintain secrecy was never completely under the control of the UNNM.

Journal Article.  7940 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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