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Thursday, October 12 at 7pm - Ray Anthony Shepard presents "Now or Never!: 54th Massachusetts Infantry's War to End Slavery"

Please join us on Thursday, October 12 at 7pm, when local author Ray Anthony Shepard discusses and signs his new book, Now or Never. 

Ray Anthony Shepard is a grandson of a slave, a former teacher, and retired editor-in-chief of a major education publishing company., He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska College of Education and the Harvard Graduate School Education where he received a Martin Luther King Jr. Fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. 

"I write to provide young readers of any age a fuller (not revisionist) picture of American slavery, a corrective history of the struggle and anguish of courageous individuals in the two-and-a-half-century assault to limit full American citizenship to African Americans by ascribing inferior physical, moral, and intellectual attributes to a set of racial features."

Event date: 
Thursday, October 12, 2017 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm
Event address: 
The Concord Bookshop
65 Main Street
Concord, MA 01742
Now or Never!: Fifty-Fourth Massachusetts Infantry's War to End Slavery Cover Image
ISBN: 9781629793405
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Calkins Creek Books - October 10th, 2017

Now or Never!  The story of two Civil War freedom-fighters, journalists, and abolitionists who answered Frederick Douglass’s clarion call:

Men of Color

To Arms! To Arms!

    Now or Never

Told from the war dispatches of George E. Stephens and James Henry Gooding, free Black men from the North who risked enslavement and their lives to liberate African Americans imprisoned in Southern slave camps. 

Stephens and Gooding felt duty-bound to enlist in the Union Army and prove to the country that “they were worthy to be freemen.” Among the first to volunteer for Massachusetts’ 54th Infantry, an all-Black regiment, they eagerly recruited other free men to join. But it wasn’t long before they discovered the harsh realities of army life. As soldiers and also the war’s first Black correspondents, they wrote eyewitness reports exposing the dangers and tragedies experienced on and off the battlefield, as well as the shocking injustices they endured in their own army.

Now or Never! is an enthralling but factual story that gives young adult readers, ages 12 to 80, a deeper understanding of how and why the Civil War changed from a war to save the Union to a war of emancipation. It reveals the critical weapon a hesitant Abraham Lincoln waited two years to deploy—a weapon the Confederates possessed in greater numbers but dared not use —180,000 armed Black men

Shepard tells the courageous stories of Stephens and Gooding, little-known but extraordinary men whose service and sacrifices provide an intensely personal perspective on the Civil War.