Rachel Dolezal
Rachel Dolezal's 2000 marriage in Mississippi (she's seen at the centre). Dolezal is now divorcedFamily handout

The story just gets stranger for Rachel Dolezal, the pretend-to-be-black former head of Washington's NAACP chapter. The Smoking Gun has discovered that Dolezal sued her college, traditionally black Howard University, for discrimination — because she was white.

Dolezal has resigned her position as head of Spokane's NAACP after her parents revealed last week that their daughter is actually a blonde white woman, though she has been presenting herself for years as a light-skinned African American.

But Dolezal, then known as Rachel Moore, was apparently an angry white student while attending Howard University, where she earned a Masters of Fine Arts in 2002. That same year she filed a lawsuit charging that she was blocked from becoming a teaching assistant, rejected as a post-graduate instructor, and denied a scholarship in part because she was white.

She also charged that Howard removed some of her art from a student exhibition, "motivated by a discriminatory purpose to favor African-American students over" her.

Besides race, Dolezal's lawsuit "claimed discrimination based on race" as well as "pregnancy, family responsibilities and gender."

An appeals court, finding no evidence of discrimination, dismissed the complaint in 2004, and ordered her to pay nearly $3,000 (£1,900) in court costs.

Dolezal hasn't directly or clearly addressed the controversy sparked by her fantasy black life that triggered discussions around the world on race and identity. Her letter of resignation posted on the NAACP Spokane Facebook page was largely a listing of her accomplishments as head of the organisation.

The dialogue over social justice has "unexpectedly shifted internationally to my personal identity in the context of defining race and ethnicity," Dolezal wrote. "I have waited in deference while others expressed their feelings, beliefs, confusions and even conclusions — absent the full story.

"In the eye of this current storm, I can see that a separation of family and organisational outcomes is in the best interest of the NAACP. It is with complete allegiance to the cause of racial and social justice and the NAACP that I step aside from the presidency.

She adds: "This is not about me. It's about justice. This is not me quitting; this is a continuum."