The president of the Spokane, Wash. chapter of the NAACP has claimed for years to be part African-American and that she has been targeted in numerous hate crimes. But in fact, 37-year-old Rachel Dolezal is not black at all, her parents say. She’s white, and she was born in Montana, and she’s lied about many other details of her past.
One bizarre claim Dolezal has made, according to The Couer d’Alene Press, is that she was born in a teepee and that she has a son who is black. But a young man Dolezal claims is her child is actually her adopted brother. Dolezal’s parents, Larry and Ruthanne, adopted four African orphans between 1993 and 1995.
The Dolezals also adamantly deny that their daughter was born in a teepee. The couple lived in one for a short period in the early 1970s, but that was before Dolezal was born.
According to The Press, Dolezal, who besides leading the NAACP chapter is an Africana studies professor at Eastern Washington University, falsely claimed she was African-American on an application for a position as the chair of Spokane’s Office of Police Ombudsman Commission.
In addition, Dolezal has falsely claimed that her biological father is black. She even went so far as to post pictures of herself on Facebook standing with a black man she claimed was her dad. But the man, Albert Wilkerson, is from northern Idaho and worked as a volunteer for the Human Rights Education Institute in Coeur d’Alene, according to The Press.
Dolezal, who claims to have earned a master’s degree from Howard University, the historically black college, was in charge of educational programming at the Institute.
The Dolezals, who still reside in Montana, provided proof to The Press in the form of a birth certificate to show that Dolezal was born in Montana and listed as white. They also provided pictures from her childhood while disputing many other allegations Dolezal has made about her upbringing. Dolezal claimed in one interview that her parents used to punish her and her adopted brothers based upon their skin complexion. She also said they would use a “baboon whip” as punishment.
“She is fabricating a very false and malicious lie,” Ruthanne Dolezal told The Press.
When she lived in Couer d’Alene, and later when she moved to Spokane, Dolezal filed numerous police reports claiming she was the victim of hate crimes, burglaries and vandalism, none of which were ever proven to be legitimate.
In April 2009, while living in Couer d’Alene, Dolezal claimed that three skinheads walked into the institute where she worked and began asking her personal questions and about the boy she claimed was her son.
On Nov. 19, 2009, after moving to Spokane but while still apparently working at the Human Rights Education Institute, Dolezal filed a police report claiming that she found a swastika at her workplace.
In December 2009, she called police to report a burglary but never followed up on the call.
On June 15, 2010, Dolezal called police to report a noose hanging in her garage. Contacted by police later, Dolezal’s landlord said that he likely left the noose there after he used it to hang up deer.
In February of this year, Dolezal appeared on local news in Spokane after she claimed she received 20 pages of threatening hate mail that included pictures of lynchings. During that news segment, it was reported that Dolezal claimed that in 2009 someone broke into her home and left a noose on her front porch.
In a street video filmed after the latest hate crime allegation, Dolezal claimed that the hate mail she received was full of “right-wing extremist” messages. She also stated that she was targeted by a hate group that deals meth.
“The xenophobia and the hate and the racism that connects all of these things in this area is something that gives us pause but also encourages us that the work that we’re doing is necessary and essential,” Dolezal said.
NEXT PAGE: Dolezal Traveled To Baltimore
Dolezal has ventured beyond Spokane with her activism. Her Facebook page includes references to the death of Eric Garner, who died while being choked by a Staten Island, N.Y. police officer in July.
She also traveled to Baltimore during the protests over the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray. During that trip, Dolezan posed for a picture with Marilyn Mosby, the Baltimore city state’s attorney. Both attended the NAACP’s annual convention.
In Baltimore, Dolezan addressed a crowd that had gathered in protest. In a separate interview she made reference to the seemingly fabricated death threats.
“Not only have we had these incidents with police, I have received these racist threats — death threats,” Dolezal told The Baltimore Brew. “I just came to support Baltimore. We are dealing with a national problem.”
This article has been updated.