Rachel Dolezal, 37, was the head of the local chapter of the NAACP and has identified herself as African-American. But her Montana birth certificate says she was born to two people who say they are Caucasian. She is seen as a teenager at left in an old family photo and in a more recent picture from Eastern Washington University, where she teaches classes related to African-American culture.
A family photo shows Dolezal's family at her wedding reception in Jackson, Mississippi, on May 21, 2000. Her family is racially mixed; four of her adopted siblings are black. She and her husband, Kevin, are standing between her parents. Her grandparents are at right and her adopted siblings are in the front row.
Another family photo shows Dolezal as a teenager. Her mother told the Spokane Spokesman-Review that after she and her husband adopted four African-American children, Dolezal began to "disguise herself." Dolezal brushed off the controversy surrounding her racial identity as part of a family fight over alleged abuse, the Spokesman-Review reported.
Dolezal poses for a picture with prosecutor Marilyn Mosby. Dolezal's mother said on Friday, June 12, that her daughter "has not explained to us why she is doing what she's doing and being dishonest and deceptive with her identity."
Matt Lauer interviews Dolezal on the "Today" show on Tuesday, June 16. Dolezal revealed that she started identifying as black around age 5, when she would draw self-portraits with a brown crayon. She told Lauer she "takes exception" to the contention that she tried to deceive people.
Anthony Quintano/NBC News/AP
"My life has been one of survival," Dolezal told Lauer. "And the decisions that I have made along the way have been to survive and to carry forward in my journey and life continuum."