Legislation which would make it impossible for a person to change his name “because the one he bears when he comes to this country he finds detrimental to him in business” was advocated by H. S. Black, chairman of the board of the United States Realty and Improvement Company and a director of other companies. Mr. Black made the suggestion at a dinner tendered recently by the George A. Fuller Company to the officers of the U. S. Realty and Improvement Company, the National City Bank and the National City Company. His address, printed in pamphlet form, was distributed to stockholders of the various companies in which he is interested.
In the course of his address Mr. Black said: “A somewhat disturbing feature in real estate today is the foreign element. When I came to New York thirty-five years ago, this was conspicuous by its absence and under no circumstances would a foreigner own or operate property; he always rented. During the past few years, however, conditions have changed and there are probably more foreigners in the real estate field now than native-born.
“I have a great respect for the acumen of the foreigner in the business world and for his knowledge and love of the Arts, but I do object to those who for ‘business reasons’ change the names betraying their race and in some cases also change their religion. It is said that a leopard cannot change its spots but that a snake can shed its skin: it seems to me this applies to some of the foreign element-they may shed their skin by the change of name, but the spots remain.
“As I understand it a man may change his name as often as he changes his coat, if he desires and can obtain the Court’s approval, or can do so unofficially without such approval, and I am in favor of legislation which will make this impossible. I think it all wrong for a foreigner to be able to acquire a good old New England name, for instance, because the one he bears when he comes to this country he finds detrimental to him in business.”
Among the companies of which Mr. Black is a director and whose stock-holders received the pamphlet are the National City Bank and the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad.