Mildred Delois Taylor was born in Jackson, Mississippi on September 13, 1943, to Willbert Lee and Deletha Marie Taylor. Three weeks later, her father moved to Toledo, Ohio. When she was 3 months old, her mother, her older sister, and Mildred followed up to the north where her father began a new life. Soon after a year, their family moved in to a big house on the busy streets where Mildred grew up and spent most of her childhood life.
Each year, her relatives would move into the big house until they earned enough money to rent or buy their own homes. Those were her favorite 9 years because it was never quiet. She always had cousins to play with and her aunt and uncle were always around for her to talk to when she needed someone else besides her parents. There were a lot of people around the house to do things with and she had a lot of fun during those years.
She recalled that her father, uncle, and older male cousins loved cars. They would always go out in a caravan to the park, where all the men would park their cars in a long row where they would shine while all the girls ran around and played in the fields, having a nice picnic on a sunny day. She had many memories of those years, including her father buying a new Cadillac, which memories she later gathered together into a book called The Gold Cadillac.
As a child, she went to public schools and later attended the University of Toledo. In many of her college classes, Taylor was the only black student and often found herself embarrassed when the subject goes to African-Americans in history class. After graduating and getting her degree, she joined the Peace Corps and spent the next two years teaching English and History in Ethiopia. After returning to the United States, she taught and recruited for the Peace Corps. Later, she entered the University of Colorado's School of Journalism, from which she received her Master of Arts degree. After graduating, she worked as a study skills coordinator in the University. Taylor then moved to Los Angeles, California in 1971 where she took an editing job during the day and devoted her evenings to writing.
While Living in Africa, during her stay in the Peace Corps, she observed black pride and independence that reminded her of her father and the stories he shared with her throughout her life. A week later after her father's death, Mildred wrote about the impact her father had in her life. She described her father as a master storyteller because of his abilities expressing powerful emotions from people through his stories. He inspired her to write most of her books in which she has written and published today.
When she was nineteen, she wrote her first novel called Dark People, Dark World, which was never published. Her first book that was published was Song of the Trees. It was named a New York Times Outstanding Book of the Year in 1975 and a Children's Book Showcase book. Her second book about the Logan family, was Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, published in 1976. It won the Newbery Medal Award, which awards excellence in books written for children. It was also a nominee for the 1977 National Book Award, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor Book in 1977, named a Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies by a joint committee of the National Council for the Social Studies and the Children's Book Council in 1976, and was made a three-part television miniseries and broadcasted by ABC in 1978. Both books were dedicated to her father, mentioning that the characters in the books represent him both as a child and a father.
Her third book about the Logan family was Let the Circle Be Unbroken, published in 1981 and an American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults. In 1982, it was the winner of a Coretta Scott King Award and an American Book Award nominee in the hardcover fiction category. She later published the Gold Cadillac in 1987, which won the Christopher Award in 1988. Later on that year, she also published The Friendship. In 1990, Mildred published Mississippi Bridge and wrote her fourth book about the Logan family named The Road to Memphis. It won the Coretta Scott King award in 1990 and the Christopher Award in 1991. Her last book she has published was The Well in 1995, which received the Jason Award in 1997.
Mildred D. Taylor now lives in Colorado where she continues her life of writing realistic fiction books and winning many awards. Her books are known and loved by many.