Project Highlights  | American Journalism Review
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From AJR,   August/September 2008

Project Highlights   

During the past 10 months, the Chauncey Bailey Project has produced a series of breakthrough stories following up on the work of the slain journalist. A complete list is posted at Here are a few excerpts:

By AJR Staff

October 19, 2007: Bey IV claims rivals set him up.

"Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV denies any role in the killing of Oakland Post editor Chauncey Bailey and other violent crimes linked to the organization, claiming he has been set up by relatives and associates trying to seize the organization's reins.

"In an exclusive interview Wednesday at Alameda County's Santa Rita county jail in Dublin, where he has been held since Aug. 3, the Bey family scion said it makes no sense for him to be involved in violent crimes of any kind because he was on the verge of getting the bakery business out of bankruptcy.

"Court records would seem to belie Bey IV's assurances of social civility, as he has amassed at least nine court cases in four counties in just 2 1/2 years."

December 31, 2007: How the bakery's $1 million vanished

"Editor's note: This is the first of a three-part series examining a $1 million city loan to a Your Black Muslim Bakery affiliate that was never repaid."

"A decade ago, while Your Black Muslim Bakery founder Yusuf Bey enjoyed unwavering support and adulation from black businesses and politicians, his spiritually adopted son, Nedir Bey, pressured and shamed city leaders into giving him a $1.1 million loan to help finance the promise of black entrepreneurial independence."

"The loan was granted to Nedir Bey despite his well-publicized arrest for the torture and kidnapping of a man two years earlier. Bey pleaded no contest to one felony count of false imprisonment and was sentenced to three years' probation."

February 10, 2008: Fear kept abuse victims from seeking any help

"The two sisters who triggered sex crime charges against Oakland bakery owner Yusuf Bey in 2002 had tried in the early 1980s to get help from social workers, but fear kept them from speaking forcefully about the abuse and the social workers didn't pursue the matter, an investigation by the Chauncey Bailey Project has revealed.

"Even when they got pregnant at 13 and 16, no one launched a serious investigation, although it was common knowledge at Your Black Muslim Bakery in Oakland, where they lived and worked, that bakery owner Bey was the father, according to court records and accounts by bakery associates."

February 11, 2008: Testimony reveals a life of abuse, toil for women at Your Black Muslim Bakery

"While Yusuf Bey, owner of Your Black Muslim Bakery, was holding himself up to the community as a successful religious and business leader who gave downtrodden blacks a second chance, the view inside the bakery during its four decades as an East Bay institution was quite different.

"Some women and girls worked long hours while Bey regularly raped and beat them, according to five women's testimony."

March 25, 2008: Police reopen 1968 Santa Barbara mosque slaying investigation.

"Police [in Santa Barbara], responding to inquiries by The Chauncey Bailey Project, have reopened an investigation into the unsolved 1968 shooting deaths of a couple affiliated with a mosque that was a forerunner to Your Black Muslim Bakery.

"Detectives could arrive in Oakland as early as this week to question Abdul Raab Muhammad, 71, formerly known as Billy X. Stephens. He is the brother of the late Your Black Muslim Bakery patriarch Yusuf Ali Bey, who was born Joseph H. Stephens."

April 9, 2008: Unsolved 1986 slaying of baker linked to founder of Your Black Muslim Bakery

"On a June night in 1986, police discovered a twice-shot, blood-smeared body spilling out of a red Ford van on Marshall Street in North Oakland.

"Police identified the victim as Peter August Kaufman and, according to a brief news report from the time, figured robbery might be the motive. Nearly 22 years later, the killing remains unsolved.

"Now, through interviews and documents including a three-paragraph news account, a death certificate, coroner and police reports and court testimony the Chauncey Bailey Project has uncovered a link between Kaufman's killing and Yusuf Ali Bey, the late founder of Your Black Muslim Bakery and a fiery preacher who touted the virtues of aggression and called his enemies 'devils.'"