The Gold Cadillac
by Mildred Taylor
illustrated by Michael Hays
Dial Puffin Penguin 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 the 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–all 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.