Rachel Dolezal, the former Spokane NAACP president whose life story has become a national media firestorm, said on the Today show Tuesday morning that she identifies as an African-American.

"I identify as black," Dolezal said in her first interview since her story went viral. "The discussion is what it is about being human and drive at the core of race, ethnicity and self-empowerment."

Dolezal resigned on Monday from her post as the president of the Spokane, Washington NAACP chapter. Dolezal, long believed to be black (although there were rumors about her race), was revealed to be white by her birth parents, who made public photos of Dolezal as a young woman with blonde hair and pale skin.

Dolezal said she has identified as black since she was five years old. "This is not some freakshow, "Birth of a Nation" blackface performance. This is on a real connected level how I've had to go there with the experience."

As for her skin color, Dolezal said "I certainly don't stay out of the sun."

Dolezal said she has had the support of her adopted brothers, who are African-American and who live with her.

Lauer questioned Dolezal about an African-American man who she said was her father. Dolezal insisted she had a bond with that man and he is her "dad."

In a Facebook post on Monday, Dolezal wrote that she will "never stop fighting for human rights and will do everything in my power to help and assist, whether it means stepping up or stepping down, because this is not about me. This is about justice."

While a student at Howard University, Dolezal sued for racial discrimination, according to The Smoking Gun. The complaint was dismissed in February 2004.