Dolezal, who stirred race debate, to speak at MLK celebration

Rachel Dolezal, the former NAACP leader from Spokane, Wash., who resigned after allegations that she was falsely presenting herself as black, will address a Martin Luther King Day celebration in North Carolina, according to published reports.

Dolezal will speak during the annual MLK Dreamfest Celebration slated for Jan. 14-16 in Cary, N.C., the Raleigh News & Observer and the Cary Citizen reported. She announced her appearance on her Facebook page.

The Town of Cary, which organizes the event, could not be reached late Wednesday night. Dolezal's name did not appear on the town's official page offering details of the event.

But organizers did tell the News & Observer that they chose Dolezal because she did a good job in her role and did nothing to harm anyone.

"We chose a person like Rachel Dolezal that has been depicted as a major villain through media because of her preference of racial identity," Al Cohen, CEO of Jireh Management Group, told the news organization. "And yet, she didn’t steal from anybody. She didn’t murder anybody. She didn’t rob anybody. She only had an affinity for a group of people, and she served her community well."

Dolezal, former president of the NAACP's Spokane chapter, was catapulted onto the national stage last year after her parents, who are white, stepped forward and said Dolezal was not black. The Baltimore-based NAACP stressed that its organization includes white leaders. Dolezal's critics took issue with the fact that she had presented herself as black and other ethnicities and had received a scholarship to Howard University, an historically black institution in Washington, D.C.

During a television interview in November 2015, Dolezal acknowledged being born to white parents but also said she identifies as black. The pinned tweet of a Twitter account that appeared to belong to Dolezal reads, in capital letters, "I am black."

Dolezal's history with Spokane has been well-documented.

In January 2015, she became the president of Spokane's NAACP chapter. In February of that same year and again in May, Dolezal told Spokane Police she had received threatening letters sent to her office and a PO box. Police investigated but were unable to determine who sent the letters.

In June 2015, KREM 2 News' Taylor Viydo spoke with the parents of Dolezal who shared photos of her as a child and said Dolezal was biologically white -- not black.

Following the social media firestorm, Spokane police announced they had suspended all cases involving Dolezal. Scheduled speeches at places such as Eastern Washington University, where she worked on a part-time basis, were canceled. Dolezal resigned from her role as chapter president shortly after.

KREM


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