On Monday Delozal stepped down from her position as President of the NAACP chapter in Spokane, Washington. Her resignation came after her parents gave a series of interviews accusing her of “dishonesty” and produced pictures of her as a blonde, blue-eyed teenager with fair skin.
They say she is white with a trace of Native American heritage and that she began to alter her appearance after they adopted four African-American children.
A day later Dolezal appeared on the Today show with Matt Lauer where she continued to insist she identifies as a black woman but conceded: “I did feel that at some point I would need to address the complexity of my identity.”
Hours later an apoplectic Morgan spluttered: “Well it’s not really that complex is it Rachel? You’re either black or white. And you’re in fact white, as your whole biological family confirms.”
Morgan made much of his “volcanic amusement” at Dolezal’s fall from grace, yet wrote: “But the problem with all this is that it’s really not that funny.”
Referring to Dolezal’s confusing claims her father is a black man named Albert Wilkerson [she has not publicly acknowledged her biological, white, father Larry Dolezal], Morgan cites an earlier interview in which the 37-year-old said her black father was forced to flee the Deep South after assaulting a policeman who was attacking him.
Morgan raises the point: “A white woman pretending to be black, claiming her fake black dad had to escape the clutches of a white policeman who was going to kill him.
“What could be a more incendiary, inflammatory thing to say in race-torn America right now?”
In January a Facebook post on the Spokane NAACP wall featured an image of Dolezal with an African-American man, captioned as a "special guest" and subsequently described in the body of the post as her father.
During her interview on the Today show, Lauer asked Dolezal how she could have said this, knowing her true father is Larry Dolezal.
Dolezal replied: “Albert Wilkerson is my dad. Any man can be a father, not every man can be a dad.”
"We hope that her good will & love will also extend to include her family," Larry Dolezal tells me in phone interview pic.twitter.com/HKSMpEI0sq— Taylor Viydo (@KREMTaylor) June 15, 2015
[Larry Dolezal has since said it “hurts deeply” to hear his daughter say that.]
Branding her a “cold, calculating piece of work”, a “pathetically disingenuous wastrel” and a “lying, deluded idiot”, Morgan concluded: “Rachel Dolezal has committed an appalling act of deception that deserves every heap of abuse now raining down on her head.”
Dolezal has also lost her position as a part-time African studies instructor at a local university, was fired from her job as a freelance newspaper columnist and is the subject of a probe by the city Ethics Commission amid allegations she mispresented her ethnic background when applying for a place on the Police Ombudsman commission. On her application, she said her ethnic origins included white, black and American Indian.
On Friday, police said they were suspending investigations into racial harassment complaints Dolezal filed before the uproar.
In a further twist to the tale, it has since emerged Dolezal appears to have filed a race discrimination lawsuit against Howard University.
Dolezal, who received a Master of Fine Arts degree from Howard in 2002, apparently sued the historically black university in Washington, D.C., that year, alleging Howard discriminated against her by blocking "her appointment to a teaching assistantship" in 2001, rejecting her application for an instructor position and denying her scholarship aid as a student - because she was white.
Dolezal has however been credited with reinvigorating Spokane's moribund NAACP branch. In her resignation letter, she boasted that the branch acquired an office, increased membership, improved finances and made other improvements under her leadership.
Members of Spokane's civil rights community held a short rally on Monday night, in which they criticized Dolezal while vowing that the NAACP's work would go forward. The rally included black, white, Native American and Hispanic residents of the city of 210,000 people.
"That (resignation) letter never addressed the people that she hurt," Johnson said before the rally. "She turned her back on all of us."
"I feel duped," said Charity Bagatsing of Spokane, a rally organizer. "Our goal was to hold Rachel accountable for her lies and deceit."
"Her lies have done damage to the people who trusted her," said Blaine Stum, chair of the Spokane Human Rights Commission.
The controversy drew conflicting views from other NAACP leaders.
"I care that she was trying to make the world a better place every day," said Frank Hawkins Jr., the NAACP president in Las Vegas. "The color of a person's skin does not matter."
Don Harris, a white man who heads the NAACP in the Phoenix area, criticised her, saying, "What do you gain in saying, `I'm an African-American' when you're not?"