“I really do not want to focus on this for the rest of my life,” Rachel Dolezal’s son, Franklin, tells his mother in Netflix’s upcoming documentary, The Rachel Divide, streaming April 27.
“You think I do?” She shoots back.
“Well,” he says, “Why don’t you just let it go away?”
Although the film has yet to be released, it’s made clear in trailers that Franklin does not see eye-to-eye when it comes to his mother and her role in the limelight. Many Twitter users seem to agree with Franklin; Dolezal is receiving major backlash from people questioning why Netflix gave her a platform to speak out about her controversial opinions on identity and race.
Read on to learn more about Franklin, Rachel Dolezal’s son.
1. He Believes This Documentary Will Affect More Than Just His Mother’s Life
In a preview clip released on Wednesday, Franklin is open with his mother about his feelings regarding the documentary.
“This book coming out, and this documentary might just backfire, like everything else has backfired,” Franklin says.
Asked by a producer if he resents her choices, Franklin admits he does resent some of his mother’s choices and some of the things she’s said in interviews. He also admits that many of her choices have affected him and his brothers.
2. He Has Two Brothers
In 2016, Rachel gave birth to Franklin’s brother, Langston Attickus Dolezal, at age 37. She has declined to discuss the identity of his father.
In an interview with Broadly Rachel said, “I’m naming him Langston because of Langston Hughes’ ‘Mother to Son’ poem’. Life hasn’t been easy for me at all, but I keep going. I’m still climbing, so don’t you sit down and stop. You keep going, and I want that to be a lesson for all my sons.”
Franklin was born in Bonner’s Ferry, Idaho. In 2003, his family uprooted to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, where, according to Rachel, her marriage became “unhealthy.” Speaking to The Easterner in 2015, Rachel said that Moore was absuive to both her and Franklin. The outlet quotes her as saying that when Franklin would intervene “he would sometimes get thrown across the room.”
3. Franklin’s Father Is Kevin Moore
Rachel was married to Kevin Moore, a black man, in 2000. The pair divorced in 2004.
According to Bustle, they first met in 1999, when Dolezal was attending Howard University.
In divorce documents obtained by the New York Daily news, Moore reportedly accused Rachel of “poisoning his relationship with his son Franklin.”
In a 2015 article in The Easterner, Rachel explains that she ultimately decided to divorce him to protect her and her son. “I wanted to have sort of like a perfect record, like there’s no room for error,” she told the outlet.
4. Rachel Claims People Threatened to Kidnap Franklin While He Was in 2nd Grade
It’s made evident in an interview with Dolezal in The Easterner that Franklin had a tough time growing up. “According to Dolezal, they hung nooses in her home, vandalized and stole from her property, directed death threats toward her along with threatening to kidnap Franklin while he was in the second grade.”
Along with his brother Franklin, Langston has an adopted brother, Izaiah. Rachel adopted Izaiah, 23, and began raising him as her own.
Even with her full family, she admits, life has been very difficult. Speaking to Broadly, Rachel says, “I’ve struggled with depression to the point where I wonder if it’s even in my kids’ best interest for me to stay around… I feel like I’m a liability to my own children.”
5. The Documentary Will Be Released April 27
The Rachel Divide will screen for the first time at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City just ahead of its release on April 27.
Rachel, a civil rights activist who worked as the branch president of the NAACP branch in Spokane, Washington, became a household name in 2015, after it was revealed that she had lied about her African-American background. When Dolezal publicly revealed that she self-identifies as “trans-black”, she was met with backlash.
The filmmaker behind The Rachel Divide, Laura Brownson, spent two years filming Dolezal and her family, according to Vulture.
Speaking to the outlet, Brownson recently said, “In making the film, I came to a deeper understanding of the raw nerve that Rachel hits in our society, but I also learned that her motivations to identify as she does are far more complicated than most realize,” Brownson tells Vulture. “Regardless of how people feel about Rachel, I hope the film will challenge audiences to think more deeply about race and identity in America.”