I had originally intended to post this yesterday, but it felt wrong to celebrate some white lady (even if she is my very favorite white lady) on MLK Day, so here it is today instead. Last year, I was surprised and delighted to learn about the connection between my idol, writer Dorothy Parker, and my hero, Martin Luther King, Jr.
Though they never met in person, Parker was so impressed with Dr. King and so moved by the civil rights movement that she left her entire estate (which was worth $10,000 at the time) to him. The will, which included the rights to her work, stipulated that upon Dr. King’s death, the estate pass to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Dorothy Parker died on June 7, 1967, and Dr. King was assassinated not quite a year later, on April 4, 1968.
Though Parker was a life-long, die-hard New Yorker, the iconic writer’s ashes came to rest in Baltimore in a quiet little courtyard at the NAACP headquarters, where she is remembered with love and admiration and humor. The inscription on the plaque reads “Excuse my dust.”