Following days of backlash, both publicly and internally, the Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts announced that Rachel Dolezal, the white woman who for years claimed she was black, will no longer appear at the Baltimore Book Festival.
BOPA repleased the following statement announcing the decision: "For 21 years, the Baltimore Book Festival has hosted more than 3,000 writers and has been a venue for the exchange of ideas and information. In the past, we have hosted writers with different views and perspectives, always with the goal of presenting authors that engage the audience with topical and enlightening discourse. A top priority of the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts is to listen to our constituents, and after hearing from a cross-section of opinions on having Rachel Dolezal participate in this year’s festival, we had to consider how her appearance may affect both the audience and the other extraordinary authors we have planned for the Baltimore Book Festival. For that reason, we believe it is appropriate to remove Ms. Dolezal from the festival lineup."
The announcement of Dolezal's appearance received immediate criticism on social media, and a source familiar with the situation told City Paper that many within BOPA criticized the booking.
The Baltimore Book Festival is scheduled for Sept. 22-24 at the Inner Harbor and is set to include appearances by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Michael Eric Dyson, Emil Ferris, Javaka Steptoe, and others.