39-year-old white former NAACP leader Rachel Dolezal has filed papers in her hometown of Spokane, Washington to legally change her name to Nkechi Amare Diallo. As the New York Daily News notes with a smirk, Nkechi is "short for Nkechinyere, [and] comes from the Igbo word for 'what God has given' or 'gift of God' in Nigeria."
Dolezal has a memoir coming out this month, so this appears to be a well timed bit of attention-grabbing although it looks like she thought twice and deleted a tweet where she promised an explanation of her name change in the book.
She has, however, been tweeting about motherhood last we heard, a year and a half back, she was pregnant, and the baby is now one year old and she is still fending off haters. The baby appears to have been named after African American poet Langston Hughes.
Her Twitter name remains Rachel Anne Dolezal, and that is the byline on her book as well.
I never said I'm perfect. I'm sorry for any pain my choices have caused anyone else -was never my intention But it's not a sin to just be me https://t.co/93nNEUGUbg— Rachel Anne Doležal (@RachelADolezal) February 25, 2017
Dolezal was forced to step down from her role at the Spokane NAACP in June 2015 after she made international headlines for being "trans-racial," and not actually being genetically African American. She recently complained to the Guardian that she's now on the brink of homelessness after being unable to land a job, despite applying for over 100. And snicker if you must: "The only work she has been offered is reality TV, and porn."
She says she wrote the memoir (with the help of ghostwriter Storms Reback) to "set the record straight," and it was turned down by 30 publishers before one accepted it. She also told the Guardian, "Right now the only place that I feel understood and completely accepted is with my kids and my sister."
Dolezal's memoir tells the tale of her upbringing in rural Montana, by white, Christian fundamentalist parents, and her desire from an early age to to identify with black people. She says she "began to see the world through black eyes" after caring for four black adoptive siblings when she was a teenager, and having to protect them from racial bias in Montana.
She would later go on to be activist for equal rights in Jackson, Mississippi.