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Michael Hays illustrates
The Gold Cadillac

The Gold Cadillac

by Mildred Taylor
illustrated by Michael Hays
Dial Press 1987

‘lois thought her family's trip from Ohio to Mississippi in their brand-new, all gold 1950 Cadillac would be like a grand picnic. Her mother was still angry at her father for buying the car instead of saving for a new house, and her uncles warned it would be dangerous for them to drive that car into the South. But ‘lois and her sister Wilma didn't understand any of that. After all, it was the most beautiful car they had ever seen, and they loved the way everybody in Toledo "owwed and ahhed" over it.

But the South didn't welcome the family in the gold Cadillac with admiring glances. Restaurants, motels, even drinking fountains–alI had signs that said COLORED NOT ALLOWED. White policemen suspicious of a Black family driving such a beautiful car, arrested 'lois's father. By the time they're safely back in Toledo, 'lois and Wilma have found out for the first time in their lives what it's like to feel scared because of the color of their skin.

Mildred D. Taylor's poignant story of a closely knit Black family's encounter with ignorance and prejudice gives young readers an unforgettable look at the pride and pain of growing up Black in America. Michael Hays' dramatic sepia paintings perfectly evoke the 1950s as they capture the events of this emotional journey.