How Rachel Dolezal Became a 'Woke Soul Sista'

She describes childhood, transformation in new memoir
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 24, 2017 10:45 AM CDT
How Rachel Dolezal Became a 'Woke Soul Sista'
Rachel Dolezal poses for a photo with her son, Langston, on March 20.   (AP Photo/Nicholas K. Geranios)

Rachel Dolezal might have been born a white woman in Montana, but she calls herself "unapologetically black." Now jobless and selling paintings to get by, the former head of the Spokane, Wash., chapter of the NAACP—who has legally changed her name to Nkechi Amare Diallo, meaning "gift from the gods"—tells the AP she's written a memoir so people can "know the whole truth of my life story." Some standout quotes from In Full Color from the AP and the New York Post:

  • On drawing self-portraits as a child: "I usually picked a brown crayon rather than a peach one … I felt black and saw myself as black."
  • On her version of childhood fun: "[I would] make thin, soupy mud, which I would then rub on my hands, arms, feet, and legs … I would pretend to be a dark-skinned princess in the Sahara Desert."
  • On meeting her adopted black siblings at age 10: "For the first time in my life, I felt like I was truly part of a family."

  • On relating to slaves: "I knew what it was like to be a child and have to work as hard as an adult, and how it felt to be used and abused … I also understood the pain that comes from being treated like less than a full human being … and the fortitude required to fight this sort of injustice."
  • On opting to identify as black: "Just as a transgender person might be born male but identify as female, I wasn't pretending to be something I wasn’t but expressing something I already was."
  • On embracing her new identity: "I was a Black-Is-Beautiful, Black liberation movement, full conscious, woke soul sista."
  • On being outed as white by her parents: She says she contemplated suicide and "might have actually done it" if not for her son.
  • On her view of blackness: "Blackness is more than a set of racialized physical features. It involves acknowledging our common human ancestry with roots in Africa."
(More Rachel Dolezal stories.)

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