Reader Comments

Rachel Dolezal now doing weaves and braiding hair to make ends meet

by Merry Conway (2020-05-18)

Former NAACP official Rachel Dolezal has resorted to doing weaves and Baltimore braiding salon hair three times a week to make ends meet after losing her job lecturing on the history of black hair at a university.

Dolezal, who still insists she is black six weeks after she was publicly outed by her parents as white, did not have her contract with Eastern Washington University renewed after all of the controversy.

Now the ex-African Studies professor is using the styling skills she learned while attending college in Mississippi to put food on the table for her 13-year-old son Franklin at their Spokane-area home 

Scroll down for video 

Rachel Dolezal, pictured last month, insists she is black six weeks after she was publicly outed as white. It's been revealed she has resorted to weaving and braiding hair three times a week to make ends meet

'I say I'm black': Rachel with a former fiance, Mississippi musician Maurice Turner, in 2012






A moment of kindness among the hate: Black cop helps ill man... Adam Sandler says he wasn't trying to offend Native...

Couple jailed in Qatar over the death of their adopted...

Share this article


The weekly appointments are keeping the 'expert in black hair' afloat for now, but she is considering a move if the custody agreement she has with Franklin's father is loosened, Vanity Fair reported. 

She said: 'I've got to figure it out before August 1, because my last paycheck was like $1,800 in June.

'[I lost] friends and the jobs and the work and - oh, my God - so much at the same time.'

The divorced civil rights activist, who sparked a national debate on race, has no black relatives dating back to 1671, an investigation by Daily Mail Online revealed.

Yet the 37-year-old continues to describe herself as black and claims she 'didn't deceive anybody'.

Instead she says that it was the public's definition of race that was to blame for the confusion.

'It's taken my entire life to negotiate how to identify,' she said in her interview with the magazine. 

'You can't just say in one sentence what is blackness or what is black culture or what makes you who you are.

'I just feel like I didn't mislead anybody; I didn't deceive anybody. 

'If people feel misled or deceived, then sorry that they feel that way, but I believe that's more due to their definition and construct of race in their own minds than it is to my integrity or honesty, because I wouldn't say I'm African American, but I say I'm black, and there's a difference in those terms.'

Dolezal, who was president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) chapter in Spokane, Washington, when she was outed as white by her parents, has previously told NBC's Nightly News she is 'definitely not white'. 

She added: 'Nothing about being white describes who I am.' 

Now and then: Dolezal on the Today show last month and as a teenager with naturally straight blonde hair

Dolezal at her wedding to Kevin Moore in 2000. The couple, who are now divorced, are pictured with her parents (standing next to her) and her four adopted siblings

Rachel's parents Ruthanne and Larry Dolezal said she began 'disguising' herself as black around 2007

Her deceptions came to light six weeks ago after her estranged father and mother, Larry and Ruthanne Dolezal, told a local paper in no uncertain terms that their daughter was Caucasian. 

They said that she began 'disguising' herself as black around 2007.

She now wears her naturally straight blonde hair in tight brown curls and has a tan.

'It's not a costume,' she told Vanity Fair. 'I don't know spiritually and metaphysically how this goes, but I do know that from my earliest memories I have awareness and connection with the black experience, and that's never left me. It's not something that I can put on and take off anymore.'

In response to her tanned complexion, she previously explained she doesn't 'stay out of the sun'.

Speaking to NBC BLK she admitted her hair was a weave - despite posting in earlier Facebook posts that she was going for 'the natural look' with the style. 

Emotional: Rachel Dolezal became tearful during this interview with NBC News about the controversy

She added to MSNBC that she had always felt a connection to 'the black experience'.

'From a very young age I felt a spiritual, visceral, instinctual connection with black is beautiful,' she said. 'Just the black experience and wanting to celebrate that.'

Since being outed by her parents, Dolezal has resigned from her position with NAACP.

She admitted there was 'some awkwardness' between herself and the organisation and said she felt distrust from the new leader of the Spokane chapter.

Dolezal was also asked to stand down from a role at a police oversight commission and has failed to have the contract for her teaching position at the Africana-studies program at Eastern Washington University renewed. 

She is now hoping to write a book so she will not be forced to 'continue explaining' her race.

Her biological son Franklin (left) and adopted son Izaiah (right), appeared on the Today show with her

Rachel with her adopted son Iziah and a man called Albert Wilkerson, who she says is her father, even though her real father is white

On the Today show, she claimed that she first started seeing herself as black when she was five.

'I was drawing self portraits with the brown crayon rather than the peach crayon, and black curly hair,' she said. 'That was how I was portraying myself.'

But when Lauer held up a photo of Dolezal as a teen - with blonde hair and a fair complexion - she conceded that she looked like a white person and that she was not identifying as black at the time.

'I was socially conditioned to not own that and to be limited to whatever biological identity was thrust upon me and narrated to me, and so I kind of felt pretty awkward a lot of the time with that.' 

Dolezal added that her black identity was solidified more recently when she took in her adopted brother, Izaiah, and started bringing him up as her son. Izaiah, a high school student, is black.

'He said, 'you're my real mom' and for that to be something that is plausible I certainly can't be seen as white and be Izaiah's mum,' she said. 

However, her father Larry Dolezal, said she is lying about drawing herself with brown crayons.

He told TMZ that it never happened and that she only started thinking of herself as black when she was in her 20s and 30s. 

Tearful: She wipes away her tears during the interview with NBC's Savannah Guthrie

Looking very different: Rachel with her then husband and their son Franklin when he was a baby in 2002

Mr Dolezal, who has adopted four black children, also responded to her suggestion that she had to think of herself as black after taking in Izaiah. 

'What would you think if I said to you since I adopted four African-American children I'm going to identify as black?' he said. 

As well as Izaiah, Dolezal has a biological African-American son, Franklin, with her ex-husband.

Dolezal married an African-American man, Kevin Moore, in 2000 with her now-estranged parents by her side. She and Moore had Franklin, before divorcing in 2004.

More recently, she was engaged to Mississippi musician Maurice Turner, although she called off their engagement just a couple of months later, in February 2013.  

'I actually was talking to one of my sons yesterday and he said, 'mom, racially you're human and culturally you're black',' she said. 'I do know that they support the way I identify.'

She also answered other questions about her family, namely the claim that an African-American man is her father. On Facebook, she has identified Albert Wilkerson - a black man - as her dad, despite the fact that her biological father, Larry Dolezal, is white.

She told Lauer that she first met Wilkerson at an event in North Idaho and 'we just connected on a very intimate level as family'. 

'Albert Wilkerson is my dad,' she said. 'Every man can be a father; not every man can be a dad.'

When asked if she would do anything differently knowing the uproar that her situation has caused, she said that she might have approached a few interviews differently. She admitted that she had failed to correct articles that identified her as 'trans-racial', 'bi-racial' or 'black' in the past. 

'But overall my life has been one of survival and the decisions that I have made along the way have been to survive,' she claimed.

And she added that she took 'exception' to the accusation that she had deceived people about her face, saying: 'It's a little more complex than me identifying as black or answering a question of, are you black or white?'

Speaking with MSNBC she said that she understood people's anger towards her but 'they don't know me.

'They really don't know what I've actually walked through and how hard it is. This has not been something that just is a casual, you know, come-and-go sort of identity, you know, or an identity crisis.' 

She said that her story - and the 'viciously inhumane way' it came out - will hopefully start a conversation about 'what it is to be human'.

'I hope that that can drive at the core of definitions of race, ethnicity, culture, self determination, personal agency and, ultimately, empowerment,' she told the Today show.

Read more:

Rachel Dolezal breaks her silence: 'I identify as black' -

Rachel Dolezal's Father -- She's Lying About Brown Crayons |

Savannah Guthrie on Twitter: ""I definitely am not white," - Rachel Dolezal in our exclusive intv for @NBCNightlyNews tonight website

Rachel Dolezal breaks her silence: 'I identify as black' | MSNBC

Rachel Dolezal: It's a Weave - NBC News

Rachel Dolezal: Caitlyn Jenner's story 'resonated' with me -

An Interview With Rachel Dolezal: "It's not a costume" | Vanity Fair

NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt - NBC News