Tama-Re

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The central part of the “Tama-Re” compound, as seen from the air. Photograph by Kenneth C. Budd

The Tama-Re compound in Putnam County, Georgia (a.k.a. "Kodesh", “Wahannee”, “The Golden City”, “Al Tamaha”) was an Egyptian-themed set of buildings and monuments established near Eatonton, Georgia by Nuwaubians in 1993 that was mostly demolished[clarification needed] after being sold under government forfeiture in 2005.

History[edit]

On January 15, 1993, Dwight York bought the property of 476 acres on 404 Shady Dale Road for $975,000. His followers began moving in from their former headquarters in Sullivan County, NY.

York stated[citation needed][year needed]

“We moved to Eatonton, Georgia because we are the Yamassee, a branch of the Washitaw Moors, The Mound Builders. Our Ancestors built the Rock Eagle Mound and many others in such states as Wisconsin, Ohio, South Carolina, Louisiana, and Tennessee. This is why we chose Eatonton to live. It is close to Rock Eagle Mound.”

In 1997 and 1998, Victor Greig, acting as York's representative in building and zoning matters, was cited for building without a permit and for illegally operating a nightclub by sheriff Howard Sills. Greig was fined $45,750 in April 1998 and appealed. His fine was reduced to $2,500, but the conviction upheld.

The organization began to hold festivals on the property, with one netting about $500,000 in cash, according to an FBI agent's testimony.[1]

In 1999, a lawsuit is filed attempting to prevent the Nuwaubians from using the property for anything other than residential and agricultural purposes. This led to a drawn-out, bitter tug of war between the Nuwaubians and the country authorities. At the annual week-long celebration "Savior's Day" (i.e. York's birthday) in June 1999, the nightclub building was padlocked.

In 2000, a security / paramilitary group called the “Royal Guard Of Amen-Ra, Inc.” owned by actor Wesley Snipes’s Amen Ra Films filed BATF papers to set up a security training center next to the Tama-Re compound.[2] The Nuwaubians claimed Snipes as one of their own, though a spokeswoman for Snipes denied any connection.

New York Press in November 2000 described the constructions completed in the compound:

Not long after you’re pretty sure you’ve gone too far, roll up and over one last hill and the pyramids are right there. There’s a black one and a gold one, and a brown-faced sphinx facing the road, and a tall obelisk, and an arch-shaped gate decorated with ankhs and other hieroglyphs, through which runs a road lined with statues of mostly animal-headed deities, all brightly painted in primary colors. Farther back, up on the rise, is a recognizable one, Isis, with ebony skin and her winged arms spread. No level of expectation can dilute the surprise–you can’t believe what you’re seeing. Tama-Re, Egypt of the West, has that Magic Kingdom quality.[2]

In 2001, the Religious Movements Homepage Project at the University of Virginia reported on Tama-Re:

Armed guards stand at the entrance to Tama-Re. Approximately 100 Nuwaubians live within 15 double-wide trailers within this complex. There are approximately another 400 more Nuwaubians within Putnam County (population 14,000). At this current complex the Nuwaubians have constructed an Egyptian-style village with two pyramids, obelisks, and statues of Egyptian leaders. The two pyramids are distinct in appearance and in usage. There is a gold pyramid that serves as a trade center. Within this pyramid one can find a bookstore and a clothing store. The other pyramid is painted black with colorful Egyptian symbols painted on the outside. This structure serves as a church. Within the church, loudspeakers play Egyptian chants 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.[3]

In March 2002, the Nuwaubians finally submitted a permit application for the nightclub, now called a "fellowship hall", allowing them to use the building for the first time since it was padlocked. On 8 May 2002, the compound was raided by the FBI, arresting York on charges of racketeering and child molestation.

In June 2005, the property was sold under government forfeiture by the U.S. Marshals Service for USD 1.1 million.[4] About half of this money went to the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department, while most of the rest was split between the FBI and IRS.[5] On 9 June 2005 workers began demolishing the Egyptian-styled façades, with long-time Nuwaubian nemesis Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills starting the demolition by tearing down the front arch with a front-end loader. The land has since been entirely cleared of all structures and sold to a developer, who has since built a log style hunting lodge on the property.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bill Osinski (June 2007), "Pyramid Scheme", Atlanta Magazine: 126 
  2. ^ a b Heimlich, Adam “A Visit to Tama-Re” New York Press 8 November 2000[1]
  3. ^ “Nuwaubian Nation of Moors” The Religious Movements Homepage Project @ The University of Virginia web archive, citing: Osinski, Bill. "Racial, legal issues cloud Egypt." The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, September 20, 1998: 01C. Mays, Patricia. "Georgia Cult's Pyramids, Space Prophecy Alarms Neighbors." Chattanooga Times, August 1, 1999: A5.
  4. ^ Torpy, Bill “Demolition begins on land seized from Nuwaubian sect” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Atlanta, Ga.: 11 June 2005. pg. E2
  5. ^ Torpy, Bill “Nuwaubian sect shows support for jailed leader” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Atlanta, Ga.: 15 Sep. 2005. pg. D1

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°20′25″N 83°30′40″W / 33.340227°N 83.510985°W / 33.340227; -83.510985