When this story was written, most of the porters on American trains were black. Over thirty years later, not much has changed, and so this story's exploration of black and white relations on a long-distance train ride is still topical and still relevant. Read by Jonathan Strong. Time 12:09.
A professor at the University of Iowa's Writers' Workshop for a quarter of a century, James Alan McPherson is a Georgia native who studied to be a lawyer at Harvard and Yale but ended up publishing two award-winning collections of short stories, Hue and Cry and Elbow Room and (in 1969 and 1977, respectively). Though he is not a prolific writer (the best kind, usually), since then he has also published Crabcakes and A Region Not Home. John Updike selected his story "The Gold Coast" for his anthology, Best American Short Stories of the Century, so you know he must be good!