Rachel Dolezal, activist who identified as black, changes name

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Washington state civil rights advocate Rachel Dolezal is seen in the NBC's "Today" show studios in Manhattan, New York

(Reuters) – Rachel Dolezal, a former civil rights activist who was embroiled in controversy after identifying as black despite being the biological daughter of white parents, has changed her name to Nkechi Amare Diallo, court records showed on Thursday.

Diallo, 39, was profiled in a story last week by British newspaper The Guardian that mentioned she had changed her name on legal documents.

Court records posted online by Spokane County, in Washington state, indicated that Dolezal petitioned to change her name to Diallo, which has African roots, and that a judge granted the request last Oct. 7.

She could not immediately be reached for comment.

Dolezal resigned in 2015 as president of the Spokane chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, following an uproar when media reports disclosed her parents were white.

Diallo was raised in a home with adopted black siblings, attended historically black Howard University in Washington, D.C., and has produced artwork and taught classes about black culture. Her parents have told U.S. media she has Caucasian roots.

Despite receiving heavy criticism for identifying as African-American, Diallo has continued to insist she considers herself to be black.

She told The Guardian she had been unable to obtain even a low-level job, receiving only offers to appear in reality television and pornographic films. She also said she had to resort to food stamps to feed her family and feared she might become homeless.

“Right now the only place that I feel understood and completely accepted is with my kids and my sister,” Diallo told The Guardian.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Patrick Enright and Peter Cooney)

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