After being accused of falsely portraying herself as black, Spokane’s NAACP leader Rachel Dolezal quit today, saying that she remains committed to fighting for “what is right and good”. Late last week, Dolezal’s career as a black civil rights leader began to unravel after her parents came forward to say that their daughter isn’t actually black. She canceled a chapter meeting for today, where she was expected to speak about the furor that her racial identity has sparked. Nonetheless, other members of the organization say that they still intended to gather for the meeting, but before the event could take place, Dolezal posted her resignation on Facebook.
Dolezal insists that this isn’t a sign that she’s “quitting”, but rather refers to it as a “continuum”, about moving the case of human rights and the “Black Liberation Movement”. In her official resignation statement, Dolezal complained that while serious problems plagued the black community of her native Spokane, the dialogue has shifted from the agenda of the NAACP to her own personal identity. However, nowhere in the statement did Dolezal deny her apparent racial ruse.
NAACP members had been planning to demand that Dolezal step down, and one member of the chapter had organized an online petition calling for her to take a leave of absence, saying that her actions showed a lack of both integrity and credibility. Six months earlier, Dolezal had been elected president of the local NAACP chapter. Last Friday, the NAACP had issued a statement supporting Dolezal, who for a long time now has served as a figure in Spokane’s human rights community, and teaches African studies to college students. According to Dolezal’s mother, however, Rachel isn’t actually black, but rather of Czech, Swedish and German ancestry. To back up this claim, Dolezal’s mother produced her daughter’s birth certificate.
The city of Spokane is investigating whether Dolezal lied about her ethnicity when she applied to be on the police board. On Friday, the police said that they were suspending investigations into racial-harassment complaints Dolezal had filed, including one from earlier this year where she claimed to have received hate mail.