Chauncey Bailey Project

Yusuf Ali Bey

Yusuf Bey with son Fard, May 3, 2001 (RayChavez/OaklandTribune)
Yusuf Bey with son Fard, May 3, 2001 (RayChavez/OaklandTribune)

Yusuf Bey with son Fard, May 3, 2001 (RayChavez/OaklandTribune)

Yusuf Ali Bey, born Joseph H. Stephens in Greenville, Texas, founded Your Black Muslim Bakery in 1973. It became the hub of a multimillion-dollar enterprise that wielded political and religious influence in Oakland for more than 30 years.

As members of the Nation of Islam, Bey, known as Capt. Joseph X, and his brother, Billy, known as Minister Billy X, were sent from Santa Barbara to Oakland in 1970 by Elijah Muhammad to establish a congregation called Mosque 26B. (Mosque 26 was across the bay in San Francisco.) The new mosque operated Shabazz Bakery on East 14th Street.

A year later, with tensions between mosques 26 and 26B, Bey split from the Nation of Islam and started the rival Your Bakery, which had the same name as the bakery the Nation of Islam mosque had run in Santa Barbara. Told by Muhammad to stop using that name, Bey changed it to Your Black Muslim Bakery in 1972, expanding its operations into several outlets, and using it as a base for establishing real estate, and dry cleaning and security-guard companies.

His brother Billy stayed with the Nation of Islam, taking the name Abdul Raab Muhammad.

Expounding the pillars of self-reliance, self-esteem and black separatism, Bey took in those who needed housing, jobs and direction, cleaned up storefronts and fed the poor. The bakery was one of the few organizations that gave ex-convicts jobs, and he won strong support in the community. For many years he was the host of a religious and political show on cable TV called “True Solutions.” He ran for Oakland mayor in 1994 and received 5 percent of the vote.

In addition to his legal wife, Farieda Parveen Bey, he took many at least nine spiritual wives, including  Nisa Bey (also known as Nisayah Yahudah), Nora Bey (also known as Esperanza Johnson) and Daulet Bey. With Farieda, his additional wives and others, he fathered more than 42 children. Antar Bey and Yusuf Bey IV, who took control of the organization after his death, were the children of his union with Daulet Bey.

On Sept. 19, 2002, Yusuf Ali Bey was charged with 27 counts of raping four minor girls between 1976 and 1995; all bore his children. Three of his sons, Yusuf Ali Bey IV, Yusuf Bey V and Joshua Bey are facing charges in a May 2007 kidnapping and torture case. .

Bey died of colon cancer on Sept. 30, 2003, at age 67 before going to trial.

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