|Rachel Dolezal in black and white|
Fair-skinned blacks have passed for white throughout the ages, but it's certainly out of the ordinary for a white person to want to pass as black. As strange as Ms. Dolezal's situation is, she isn't the first white person to do that. You've probably never heard of Clarence King, but his
Clarence King is a hero of nineteenth century western history. He was also a brilliant scientist, best-selling author and architect of the great surveys that mapped the West after the Civil War. Secretary of State John Hay declared King “the best and brightest of his generation.”
However, King hid a secret from his friends, as well as the prominent Newport family from which he hailed: He lived a double life. For thirteen years King was known as a celebrated white explorer, geologist and writer. But he was also known as James Todd, a black Pullman porter and steel worker.
The fair skinned blue-eyed son born to a wealthy China trader passed across the color line. This was not the usual case of a black man passing as white--but a white man passing as black! And he didn't reveal his secret to his black common-law wife, Ada Copeland, until his dying day.
Why did King do this? To be with the woman he loved. To marry Ada publicly, as the white man Clarence King, would have scandalized him and destroyed his career.
Passing Strange is a fascinating account of a sacrifice made for love. If you like history, romance and forbidden love stories, then you'll enjoy Passing Strange!
All right, Clarence King passed for love, so what was Ms. Dolezal's motivation?
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