NAACP Leader Rachel Dolezal Steps Down Amid Race Furor - NBC New York
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NAACP Leader Rachel Dolezal Steps Down Amid Race Furor

Rachel Dolezal had come under scrutiny after her parents said she was white and had been pretending to be black for years.

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    In this photo taken July 24, 2009, Rachel Dolezal stands in front of a mural she painted.

    Rachel Dolezal, the former leader of the NAACP in Spokane, stepped down from her post on Monday, days after her parents' claims that she has falsely portrayed herself as black for years sparked calls for her resignation and a nationwide dialogue about racial identity.

    "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," Dolezal said in a statement on the chapter's Facebook page Monday.

    Dolezal didn't address the questions about her own race in her statement announcing her resignation, instead reiterating her commitment to the NAACP's cause.

    "Please know I will never stop fighting for human rights and will do everything in my power to help and assist, whether it means stepping up or stepping down, because this is not about me. It's about justice," she said. "This is not me quitting; this is a continuum."

    Dolezal has not spoken publicly about her parents' claims, but she will break her silence in exclusive interviews with NBC News and MSNBC on Tuesday.

    Following a live interview with Matt Lauer Tuesday on "Today," she will sit down for separate interviews with Savannah Guthrie for "NBC Nightly News," Melissa Harris-Perry for MSNBC and NBCBLK, NBCNews.com's African-American vertical.

    Dolezal's parents had told the "Today" show Monday that they think she pretended to be black as a way to hurt them, and that they have been estranged from her for years.

    "I think Rachel has tried to damage her biological family and those kind of claims, as false as they were, seem to serve her purposes in her mind," her mother Ruthanne Dolezal told the "Today" show.

    Rachel Dolezal had earlier canceled a chapter meeting Monday where she was expected to speak about the furor sparked over her racial identity. But other members of the organization said they still planned to gather Monday evening.

    "The NAACP is not concerned with the racial identity of our leadership but the institutional integrity of our advocacy," NAACP President Cornell William Brooks said in a statement Monday afternoon. "Our focus must be on issues not individuals. Ms. Rachel Dolezal has decided to resign to ensure that the Spokane branch remains focused on fighting for civil and human rights. This resignation today comes amidst the real work of the NAACP and the real challenges to our democracy."

    A demonstration had been planned by some members Monday night calling for Dolezal to step down.

    Dolezal was elected president of the local NAACP chapter about six months ago.

    The NAACP issued a statement Friday supporting Dolezal, who has been a longtime figure in Spokane's human-rights community and teaches African studies to college students.

    Ruthanne Dolezal, Rachel Dolezal's mother, said the family's ancestry is Czech, Swedish and German, with a trace of Native American heritage. She produced a copy of her daughter's Montana birth certificate listing herself and Larry Dolezal as Rachel's parents.

    The city of Spokane is investigating whether Dolezal lied about her ethnicity when she applied to be on the police board. Police on Friday said they were suspending investigations into racial-harassment complaints filed by Dolezal, including one from earlier this year in which she said she received hate mail at her office.