A veteran activist and professor of African American history at George Washington University has been pretending to be black for years when she is, in fact, a white Kansas City woman.
In a case eerily reminiscent of Rachel Dolezal, Jessica A Krug received financial support from cultural institutions such as the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture for a book she wrote about fleeting resistance to the transatlantic slave trade. According to a Medium article allegedly penned by Krug himself, her career was rooted in “a poisonous soil of lies.”
“In the course of my adult life, I have avoided my experience as a white Jewish child in the suburbs of Kansas City under various presumed identities within a blackness that I couldn’t claim: first the North African black, then the US-rooted black. then Bronx Blackness was rooted in the Caribbean, ”she wrote.
In Krug’s book Fugitive Modernities, published before her confession, she writes in her acknowledgments: “My ancestors, unknown, unnamed, who bleed life into a future, had no reason to believe that they could or should exist. My brother, the fastest, the smartest, the most charming of us all. “Those whose names I cannot say for their own safety, whether in my barrio, in Angola or in Brazil.”
Krug was called Jessica La Bombalera in activist circles and was featured in a public hearing in New York City in June about police brutality.
“I’m Jessa Bombalera. I’m here in El Barrio, East Harlem – you probably heard about it because you sold my damn neighborhood to developers and gentrifiers, ”she begins as she introduces herself. A few moments later she adds, “I want to call all those white New Yorkers who waited four hours to speak with us and then didn’t reveal their time to the black and tan New Yorkers.”
Those who knew Krug as La Bombalera reached out on social media today to announce their upset. “I’m drowsy and still processing my feelings, but most of the time I feel cheated, stupid, and gas-lit in many ways,” author Robert Jones Jr. said on Twitter.
In 2018, Jones published his conversations with Krug in a thread he wrote for marginalized communities.
I’m in a daze and still processing my feelings, but most of the time I feel cheated, stupid, and gaslit in many ways.https: //t.co/VnxaeKNxrb
– Son of Baldwin (Robert Jones, Jr.) (@SonofBaldwin) September 3, 2020
Krug alludes to traumatic issues related to childhood and mental health in her Medium post, but says that she doesn’t believe they can be used to excuse their behavior.
“To say that all my life, as an adult and a child, I battled some unaddressed mental health demons is obvious. Mental health problems probably explain why I initially assumed a false identity as a teenager and why I continued and developed it for so long.
“But mental health problems can, will never explain or justify, neither condone nor excuse that my false identity, although I know and regularly criticize every non-black person who is appropriated by blacks, was entirely made of the black stuff.” she wrote.
The Guardian has contacted the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences at Krug and George Washington University in Washington DC for comment.
In 2015, civil rights activist and former NAACP chapter president Rachel Dolezal was outed by her parents for posing as black when she was born white. Dolezal’s own story of childhood trauma was later revealed. Dolezal later described himself as “the world’s first trans-black case”.