The black man who embattled local NAACP president Rachel Dolezal called her father in social media postings said Friday he’s reluctant to comment on the controversy.
Albert Wilkerson Jr. said in a brief phone call with The Spokesman-Review: “I have nothing negative to say about Rachel and I don’t want to throw anyone under the bus.”
Asked about reports that Dolezal claimed he was her father, Wilkerson replied, “You know the answer to that and that’s all I’m going to say.” He then hung up.
The national office of the NAACP issued a statement of support for Dolezal, the day after her family claimed she has been falsely portraying herself as black for about a decade.
“One’s racial identity is not a qualifying criteria or disqualifying standard for NAACP leadership,” wrote Michelle Nealy, a spokeswoman for the national chapter in Baltimore, Maryland. Nealy added that the controversy that sparked international coverage is “a legal issue with (Dolezal’s) family, and we respect her privacy in this matter.”
Dolezal couldn’t be reached for comment Friday, and didn’t stop to talk to media outside her house as she drove away. But she posted on her Facebook page that she had a “heart to heart” with the local NAACP executive committee Thursday night “and will be addressing the Spokane NAACP membership and all my friends soon.”
Local NAACP board members didn’t return calls seeking comment Friday.
Wilkerson, 76, lives with his wife in Pierce County, Washington. He previously lived in Athol, Idaho. While living in Idaho he volunteered for the Human Rights Education Institute, where Dolezal had worked.
In a Facebook post from December, Dolezal identified Wilkerson in a photograph as “my dad.”
The mother and father listed on Dolezal’s Montana birth certificate are white.
Dolezal said Thursday that she has been estranged from her family in Montana, however, and that their claims are part of a dispute that has pit family members against each other.
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