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Instruction and Curriculum Leadership

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Mildred D. Taylor

 Mildred D. Taylor

Mildred D. Taylor was born in Jackson, Mississippi, on September 13, 1943. She is the daughter of Wilbert Lee and Deletha Marie (Davis) Taylor. Even though she was born in the South, she did not grow up there. Yet, for Ms. Taylor, the South still holds pleasant memories as the home of her family. When she was only three months old, her parents moved her and her sister to live in the North. They moved to a newly-integrated Ohio town called Toledo. When she went to school, she was the only black child in her class. Her father decided to leave the South in the mid-1940's because he did not want his children to live their lives as he had lived his, in a segregated, racist society that allowed little or no opportunity to blacks. Over the years she came to know the South through the yearly trips her family took to Mississippi and through the stories told whenever the family gathered. Mildred Taylor was quoted in Something About the Author, as saying, "As a small child, I loved the South. In my early years, the trip was a marvelous adventure, a twenty-hour picnic that took us into another time and another world." Her father told her many stories that he had been told when he was a boy. Some of the stories he had actually lived himself. She has used some of those stories in her novels.

Taylor attended the University of Toledo. After graduation she joined the Peace Corps in Ethiopia as an English and history teacher for two years. When she returned, she attended the University of Colorado School of Journalism. She earned a Master of Arts degree there. While she was attending school, she worked with university officials and fellow students in structuring a Black Studies program at the university. Now she is a writer living in Colorado. She began writing her first book, Song of the Trees, in 1973.  This book  about the Logan family  won the Council on Interracial Books Award in the African American category and was a New York Times Outstanding Book of the Year in 1975.  In all, she has written a series of nine books based on stories from her own family's history. 

Mildred Taylor has won many other awards for her books.  She won the Coretta Scott King award for three of her books. She also won the Newberry Medal in 1977 for Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry.  In addition, this novel was a National Book Award Nominee, a ALA Notable Book, a Booklist, Best of the Best Books, 1970-1982,Kirkus Choice, on The Horn Book Fanfare Honor List , a New York Times Book Review Best Children's Book 1970-1980, and won the Pacific Northwest Young Readers Award.  Taylor has taken great pride in her heritage and provides historical fiction about life for the Logan family.   The Logan family members are loosely based on the members of Taylor's own family and many events in the stories are also based on events in Taylor's family  history.   In all of Taylor's stories, she has shown the true vision of black families and their racial struggles.

In 2004,  Mississippi celebrated a Mildred D. Taylor Day, and Mildred Taylor returned to her roots to address several hundred school children and adults at The University of Mississippi also known as Ole Miss.

Biography by Carrie Margaret Steele (SHS)


Mildred D. Taylor Books in McWherter Library

All books listed below are located in Juvenile section on 3rd floor and alphabetized by author's last name.