Mildred D. Taylor: Biography

Mildred D. Taylor

13 sep 1943

Mildred DeLois Taylor is an author of African-American descent born in 1943 in Jackson, Mississippi. She grew up in Toledo, Ohio, where her family moved when she was very young. Her novels explore the difficulties that African-American families faced living in the Deep South of the United States during the Great Depression and throughout the mid-20th Century. Most of her works are inspired by anecdotes which were passed down through the generations of her family, or stories and experiences of other families in a similar situation to her own.

Taylor is best known for her children’s novel Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. It was published in 1977 and was awarded the Newberry Medal. It is actually the second book in a series of novels and novellas about the Logan family. It is set in Mississippi during the Great Depression when many of the African-American families in the Deep South were impoverished and still harshly punished for the colour of their skin. The story centres on the children of the Logan family and their interactions with adults and other children as they go about their daily lives. It won the Newberry Medal for being ‘the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children’ in its tackling of racism.

Mildred DeLois Taylor now lives in Colorado, and has not published a book since 2001. In 2003 she was awarded the NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature which recognised her whole body of work and its overall contribution to literature for children.