Author Shelton Johnson To Speak At Boys & Girls Club of Freeport & Stephenson County

Freeport, Illinois — Shelton Johnson, author of One Book, One Freeport selection Gloryland, will speak at a community-wide program on Thursday, March 9 at 6:30 p.m. at The Boys & Girls Club of Freeport & Stephenson County (511 Liberty St., Freeport).

There will also be a book signing by Shelton Johnson on March 9 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. at the Freeport Public Library.

Mr. Johnson has worked as a National Park Ranger for 30 years, striving to connect communities of color, particularly African Americans, with their national parks. He is known nationwide for his role in the Ken Burns’ PBS documentary film “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.”

Gloryland, by Shelton Johnson, begins on Emancipation Day in 1863 with the birth of Elijah Yancy, who is of African American and Native American descent.  Unfortunately, newly declared “freedom for all” is not yet a right for Yancy and his family when they face the realities of life. For his own safety, Yancy’s family tells him to leave South Carolina.

Yancy ends up traveling to Nebraska where he joins the United States Army, but becomes disillusioned by his duties when they run afoul of the morals his family taught him. The last section of the book focuses on Yancy’s time posted in Yosemite where his assignment is to protect the National Park against human influences on nature, including the Native American people who formerly inhabited the area.  It is in Yosemite where Yancy connects with nature and God and finally understands his place in the world.

The mission of the One Book, One Freeport program is to encourage a shared reading experience, foster a sense of community, and promote literacy to people of all ethnic backgrounds, economic levels, and ages. Based on similar programs in communities across the country, One Book, One Freeport provides free copies of a selected book and coordinates educational programs and events to explore topics related to the book.

A wide variety of One Book, One Freeport events for all ages are taking place between now and April. Visit for more details.

This event is free and open to the public.


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