Petitions: A Fine American Name

To affirm black pride, many black Americans have adopted African names. One who sought to formalize the change in court, however, ran into unexpected opposition. Robert Lee Middleton, a 25-year-old student at the New York City Community College in Brooklyn, wants to be known as Kikuga Nairobi Kikugis. He explained to New York Civil Court Judge Irving Smith that he plans to teach African culture after graduation and would like to have a name appropriate to such a career. The petition has just been denied.

Judge Smith found that the words Kikuga and Kikugis seem to mean nothing in any...

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