1. The Colored Car

    October 8, 2018

    In The Colored Car, Jean Alicia Elster, author of the award-winning Who’s Jim Hines?, follows another member of the Ford family coming of age in Depression-era Detroit. In the hot summer of 1937, after boarding the first-class train car at Michigan Central Station in Detroit and riding comfortably to Cincinnati, 12-year-old Patsy is shocked when her family is led from their seats to change cars. In the dirty, cramped “colored car,” Patsy finds that the life she has known in Detroit is very different from life down south, and she can hardly get the experience out of her mind when she returns home—like the soot stain on her finely made dress or the smear on the quilt squares her grandmother taught her to sew. As summer wears on, Patsy must find a way to understand her experience in the colored car and also deal with the more subtle injustices that her family faces in Detroit. By the end of the story, Patsy will never see things the same way she did before.

    Formerly an attorney, Jean Alicia (Fuqua) Elster, BA ’74, is a professional writer of fiction for children and young adults. She is the granddaughter of Douglas and Maber (May) Jackson Ford, whose family story is the basis of The Colored Car. Her book Who’s Jim Hines? was selected as a Michigan Notable Book and a ForeWord Book of the Year finalist. Additional titles include I’ll Do the Right ThingI’ll Fly My Own PlaneI Have a Dream, Too!, and Just Call Me Joe Joe. Learn more about her work at www.jeanaliciaelster.com.