What do Dorothy Parker and Ben Affleck have in common? They are both sharing the cover of the October 1999 Vanity Fair. Dottie is the subject of an excellent story by Christopher Hitchens which delves into one side of Mrs. Parker that the casual fan may not be aware of: her deep belief in civil rights and stopping prejudice. This is the best magazine article on Mrs. Parker written in 10 years.
The four-page story (loaded with great photos too) explores how she was speaking and writing about civil rights and equality among the races long before it was in fashion. Anyone who knows “Arrangement in Black and White”, written decades before the civil rights marches in the South, knows that Dottie believed racial intolerance was wrong. Hitchens, one of the magazine’s top writers and a big Parker fan, goes on to explain something that is helping others more than 30 years after her death. Her literary estate was left to Dr. Martin Luther King, which then rolled over to the NAACP upon his death. The NAACP has a memorial garden and Dorothy’s ashes at their headquarters in Baltimore.
Hitchens visits the garden and movingly describes what it is like. He closes by saying that he contacted Julian Bond about the possibility of rededicating the memorial. A great idea. Eighty years after Vanity Fair fired Dorothy Parker, it does a great service to her everlasting memory by running such a terrific article. Be sure to buy a copy of the October issue.