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Calvin Trillin is a journalist, humorist and novelist. Best known for his humorous writing about food and eating, he is also the author of several books of fiction, nonfiction essays,[…]

Calvin Trillin’s most memorable journalism moment was his ride on the first Freedom Ride bus into Jackson, Mississippi.

Question: What are your most memorable moments as a journalist?

Calvin Trillin: Some of the most dramatic were very early on when I spent a year in the south, and I was on the bus, the Freedom Ride bus, the first bus that went into Jackson, and I happen to be in the south in a very busy time. The segregation or integration story worked on plateaus because there was no real pressure from Washington, so not had much had happened in the six months before I got there, but a lot happened in the year I was there. And there were two people for Time in the southern bureau. I replaced a guy who I think had left six or eight months before. There just hadn’t been anybody, and the bureau chief was married and had a few children and to my astonishment actually preferred to stay home rather than get chased by people with clubs in terrible places. I was delighted that he would let me do that, but I couldn’t imagine why anybody would do that. I later learned that it was a more sensible way to lead your life, so I guess when I think of sort of dramatic moments I think of the south.

Recorded on:  October 8, 2009