Naima Quarles-Burnley replaces Rachel Dolezal as president of the NAACP Spokane Chapter
Naima Quarles-Burnley didn’t predict back in January 2015 that she would be at the helm of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP so quickly. Nor did she know that it would be in the midst of a firestorm. Her predecessor, Rachel Dolezal, resigned on Monday, June 15, 2015, following a media circus surrounding her racial identity.
Quarles-Burnley was born and raised in New Rochelle, NY. She is a graduate of Oberlin College in Ohio and Antioch School of Law in Washington, D.C. She practiced law for seven years with Neighborhood Legal Services in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. An evangelist, she has ministered in prisons and on a series of overseas short-term mission trips –Mexico, Spain, Jamaica, Bahamas, Guyana, Nicaragua, Liberia, Ghana, South Africa and Malawi. She gave up law in 1991 to become a minister full time.
Quarles-Burnley first joined the staff of Ambassadors Fellowship in Los Angeles, California as a resource developer. A few years later she returned to her home church and St. Catherine AME Zion Church and worked in the Department of Overseas Missions as the international director of the Mission Advocate Program. In this capacity, she worked with the secretary/treasurer of the Overseas Missions and the Bishops who had overseas districts, helping them plan, prepare and implement mission outreach projects.
In 2000, she moved to Cleveland, Ohio with her husband Rev. Dr. Lawrence Burnley where they both served on the national staff of the United Church of Christ.
In 2005, Quarles-Burnley moved to Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania to serve at Messiah College. She worked in their Agape Center as the coordinator of Special Projects.
In 2010, she obtained her Masters of Divinity from Lancaster Theological Seminary, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Shortly after graduation she and her family moved to Spokane and she became VP of NAACP’s Spokane Chapter in January 2015.
Naima Quarles-Burnley is the proud mother of one son, Thulani Rashad Burnley, a child with Downs Syndrome.
Naima Quarles-Burnley has not publicly shared her racial identity. We will keep you posted should an announcement occur.