The leader of the NAACP chapter in Spokane, Wash., subjected to national scrutiny and ridicule after it appeared she lied about her racial background, announced Monday that she was quitting that post.
“It is with complete allegiance to the cause of racial and social justice and the NAACP that I step aside from the presidency and pass the baton to my vice president, Naima Quarles-Burnley,” Rachel Dolezal said in a statement that was posted to the chapter’s Facebook page.
It was not clear whether Dolezal would also give up her part-time teaching position in African-American studies at Eastern Washington University, or her membership on the Spokane police ombudsman’s commission.
Dolezal was elected president of the NAACP chapter last year, and had been credited with lifting its finances, visibility and membership.
But NAACP officials and other community leaders said she had represented herself as being of partly black ancestry, and she checked boxes for white, black and Native American on her application to the city for the ombudsman commission, where she was appointed by the mayor. Reached by reporters last week at their home in Montana, Dolezal’s parents — from whom she is estranged — said that in fact, she has no black background.
The city of Spokane is investigating whether she lied about her ethnicity when she applied to be on the police board.
Her mother, Ruthanne Dolezal, said the family’s ancestry is Czech, Swedish and German, with a trace of Native American heritage.
The New York Times and The Associated Press contributed to this report.