Knights of the All Seeing Eye
The Knights of the All Seeing Eye stems from The Universal Hagar’s Spiritual Church (UHSC) which was founded by Father George Willie Hurley, an African American man and self-proclaimed “god.” In the early 1920s, Hurley became a minister in the National Spiritual Church, a predominantly White organization, which brigded his transition into the leader of his own church established in Detroit on September 23, 1923. It was as part of this religious movement that he established the Knights of the All Seeing Eye, a Masonic-like auxiliary open to both men and women. This was a tactical move on Fr. Hurley’s part, as he was losing members to these organizations and wanted to find a way to retain his parishioners.
Originally we thought this group was defunct as the only modern reference we could find to the organization was from a regalia manufacturer that still offers fezzes for the group. However, we were recently contacted by Rev. George Latimer-Knight, a representative of the Universal Hagar’s Spiritual Church. He informed us that the group has 30 temples and missions in 13 states. He went on to say that they conduct two national conventions yearly; and each state holds a yearly convocation. He adds that they have recently partnered with AmeriCorp VISTA and Schoolcraft College to tutor local students at their national headquarters. We have opened a conversation with the Reverend in hopes of finding out more about this group!
This fez comes from Ohio, No. 13, location unknown.
Fezzes from the Knights of the All Seeing Eye are exceedingly rare. The museum was lucky enough to get the first example shown here just after the collection started nearly a decade ago. Recently, another KoASE fez came up for sale and we knew that it had to be added to the collection. This fez is much plainer than the first. The embroidery is less well constructed, though it lacks the artistic quality of a rhinestone piece. The fez is blue, with a yellow tassel, that matches the yellow of the insignia and location. The fez comes from Detroit No. 1. Based on the construction and materials, this fez probably comes from the 1970’s or later.
Of all of the exhibits in the collection, this one is probably the most controversial. Wikipedia offers an excellent explanation as to why:
“The Nuwaubian Nation or Nuwaubian movement is a religious organization founded and led by Dwight York. York began founding Black Muslim groups in New York in 1967, and has changed his teachings and the names of his groups many times. In the late 1980s, he abandoned the Muslim theology of his movement in favor of Ancient Egypt and extraterrestrial themes, in 1993 leaving Brooklyn for Eatonton, Putnam County, Georgia, where he built an ancient Egypt-themed compound called Tama-Re.
By 2000, the “United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors” had some 500 adherents, and drew as many as 5,000 visitors attending “Savior’s Day” (York’s birthday). Adherence declined steeply after York was sentenced to 135 years in federal prison in April 2004, and the Tama-Re compound was sold under government forfeiture and demolished in 2005.
The term “Nuwaubu” is found in “The Holy Tablets”, a 1700-page document published by York in 1996, as the term for “the way of life” of “supreme beings”. Nuwaubian teachings are sometimes also referred to as Nuwaubu/Nuwaupu, Wu-Nuwaubu, “Right Knowledge”, “Sound Right Reasoning”, “Overstanding”, “Blackosophy” or “Factology.” It is classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.“
All male members of the Nuwaubian movement are required to wear a fez at specific times. We have very little knowledge on the specific uses of the fez by this group, or how colors or gradations may be used. Fezzes vary in design, but are most often found in black and red / maroon. Designs usually contain crescent moons, ankhs, and other Egyptian symbols.
This fez is very typical of the movement. It was probably produced in the mid to late 1990’s. The design is vaguely a starburst, depicting a crown with black in the center. Under the starburst are two ankh like symbols, or perhaps an Omega – we’re unsure of the specific symbology. The tassel is yellow, as seen on most maroon fezzes from this organization.
We remain unsure as to what the different colors of Nuwabian fezzes mean. These three fezzes represent the most common versions. Each share a similar motif, with rhinestones and the same design. Some of the symbols match those found on the other style of fez in the collection. In all cases, the tassel is black, being of average length. There are no other major adornments or markings. Theses fezzes are relatively recent, dating from the 90’s or later, coinciding with the height of the Nuwabian movement.
These two fezzes were bought at auction with the other Nuwabian pieces in the collection, but are materially different. They are of much cheaper construction.
The black piece, with gold colored symbol, is of higher quality than the red one, but still inferior to the regular pieces we’ve collected. We are unsure of the significance of this fez in comparison to the others.
The red fez was obviously meant as a souvenir piece, available to visitors of Tama Re, the headquarters compound of the movement. Tama Re has since been destroyed in response to the dismantling of the Nuwabians following the conviction of their leader, Dr. York.