Rachel Dolezal, Spokane's NAACP President, meets with Joseph M. King of King's Consulting, left, and Dr. Scott Finnie, director and senior professor of EWU's Africana Education Program, Jan. 16, 2015. 
Photo by Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review/AP

Spokane NAACP leader Rachel Dolezal falsely portrays herself as black, family says


SPOKANE, Wash. — Controversy is swirling around one of the Spokane region’s most prominent civil rights activists, with family members saying the local leader of the NAACP has falsely portrayed herself as black for years.

Rachel Dolezal is president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP, chair of the city’s Office of Police Ombudsman Commission, and an adjunct professor at Eastern Washington University.

The Spokesman-Review reported Thursday that questions have arisen about her background and her numerous complaints to police of harassment. The story was first reported by the Coeur d’Alene Press.

Dolezal’s mother, Ruthanne, says the family’s ancestry is Czech, Swedish and German, with a touch of Native American heritage.

Dolezal has identified herself in application materials as white, black and Native American.

Police say they have found little evidence of racial harassment.