Biography (Cyclopedia of World Authors, Fourth Revised Edition)
Mildred Delois Taylor has distinguished and endeared herself to thousands of readers, young and old, through her unique depiction of the American black experience, both painful and joyful, both traumatic and heroic. She was born in the segregated South to parents who did not want to raise their children under racism. When Taylor was still an infant, the family moved from Jackson, Mississippi, to Toledo, Ohio, where her father found employment in a factory. In the course of the family’s frequent journeys south to visit relatives, Taylor became sensitive to the different manifestations of racial prejudice in the North and South. The family had to drive through the night when motels did not accept them, and they had to avoid the main roads for fear of being pulled over and harassed by police. (The story of such humiliation and fear would eventually be told in her novella The Gold Cadillac.) Taylor also learned a great deal about the South through the family stories that riveted her attention and that would provide both the inspiration and much of the content for her Logan stories.
Racism was not confined to the South, however. On a family trip to California when she was nine, Taylor discovered that for them second-class citizenship stretched from coast to coast: There were motels and restaurants all along the way that did not welcome blacks. She learned more about America when she and her family moved into a solid middle-class neighborhood and...
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Mildred D. Taylor was born September 13, 1943, in Jackson, Mississippi. Three months after her birth her family moved to Toledo, Ohio, because her father was involved in what she calls a "racial incident." Taylor grew up in Ohio, attending the University of Toledo, where she majored in English education. After graduating, she served in the Peace Corps for two years in Ethiopia, followed by eight months as a recruiter and three more months as an instructor in a Peace Corps training camp.
In 1968, Taylor enrolled in a graduate program in journalism at the University of Denver, where she became active in the Black Student Alliance. After receiving a master's degree in 1969, she developed and coordinated a study skills program for a black studies program she had helped institute at the University of Denver. In 1971, Taylor moved to Los Angeles, where she tried to become a writer and supported herself through temporary office work. She had long wanted to write to provide readers with the black heroes that had been missing from her childhood schoolbooks. During this time, Taylor married Errol Zea-Daly, whom she divorced in 1975.
While living in Los Angeles, Taylor learned of a contest for minority writers sponsored by the Council on Interracial Books for Children. She quickly revised a story she had written earlier and, in 1974, won in the African American category. This short book was published as Song of the Trees in 1975. Since then,...
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Mildred D. Taylor was born in Jackson, Mississippi, on November 13, 1943. Motivated by a racial incident, her father moved the family to Toledo, Ohio, when Taylor was only three weeks old. This migration did not diminish the family's devotion and attachment to the South, and Taylor grew up with a tremendous fascination for the region, eagerly anticipating annual visits there. She received her education in the Toledo schools, where she was an honor student, editor of the school newspaper, and a class officer.
While completing her college work at the University of Toledo, Taylor aspired to be a writer and a Peace Corps volunteer. Throughout her college years, she prepared herself by diligently researching the places she longed to visit. She volunteered with the Peace Corps in Ethiopia for two years and returned home to recruit new volunteers before beginning her journalistic training at the University of Colorado. At Colorado, Taylor was active in student government and participated in curriculum changes that emphasized black studies.
Taylor's novel Song of the Trees, set in Mississippi, introduces the Logan family. Song of the Trees won the Council on Interracial Books Award in the African-American category and was listed by the New York Times as an outstanding book of 1975. The following year, Taylor wrote another novel about the Logans: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. This book, which emphasizes family love, determination,...
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