Gloryland by Shelton Johnson
One Book, One Freeport

One Book, One Freeport 2017: Gloryland by Shelton Johnson

ADDITIONAL PROGRAM! "Yosemite Through the Eyes of a Buffalo Soldier, 1903" on April 11-12. Learn more.

Teen Creative Arts Competition Begins Feb. 15, Learn More

The Book

Gloryland begins on Emancipation Day in 1863 with the birth of Elijah Yancy, who is of African American and Native American decent. Unfortunately, newly declared “freedom for all” is not yet a right for Yancy and his family. Yancy is of strong character and unable to understand and act upon the still-enforced segregation that he experiences as he grows up. For his protection, Yancy’s family tells him to leave his hometown of Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Yancy ends up traveling to Nebraska where he joins the United States Army, where he moderates the Native Americans of the West. He is then sent to serve in the Philippines to do the same to the native people there during a time of civil war. Yancy has certain freedoms and rights which were not available to him, but he is now serving the U.S. Army enforcing the repression of others, which causes an emotion and mental turmoil.

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 to nature, including the Native American people formerly inhabiting the area. It is in Yosemite where Yancy connects with nature and God and finally understands his place in the world. Back to top

The Author

Author Shelton JohnsonShelton Johnson, born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, is a graduate of the University of Michigan where he won a Major Hopwood Award in Poetry in 1981.

His historical novel Gloryland was first published by Sierra Club Books in 2009. He has given book related events at Sundance, CO; San Francisco, CA; and Chicago, IL.

He has worked as a National Park Ranger for 30 years, striving to connect communities of color, particularly African Americans, with their national parks.

Mr. Johnson is known nationwide for his role in the Ken Burns' PBS documentary film "The National Parks: America's Best Idea," and for inviting and hosting Oprah Winfrey on her televised visit to Yosemite National Park in 2010. Back to top

Calendar of Events

The 2017 Calendar includes a variety of interesting programs designed to capture your interest, including:

Free Book Giveaways of Gloryland by Shelton Johnson

Author Visit


Arts & Drama

Lectures and Presentations, including the annual American History Lecture Series

Family-friendly Programs

Teen Creative Arts Competition Rules and Information

  1. Competition is open to all teens ages 13-19.
  2. Contest will have 5 categories:
  3. Submissions will be accepted Wednesday, February 15 through 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 15 at the Youth Services desk. Winners will be announced on Monday, March 20.
  4. Only one entry per person per category.
  5. Entries must pertain to the 2017 One Book, One Freeport Program. This includes the subjects/topics presented in either of the titles Gloryland or Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy US Marshall, as well as any speakers/presentations and the general theme of One Book, One Freeport.
  6. Submissions without an official entry form will be disqualified. Entry forms are available online or at the Youth Services desk.
  7. One Book, One Freeport Committee members reserve the right to disqualify submissions based on content, subject, and/or plagiarism. All submissions must be original.
  8. All entries will be displayed in the library for the duration of the One Book, One Freeport Program.

Short Story and Poetry/Lyrics Submission Guidelines:

Art Work Submission Guidelines:

Event Location Address/Phone

9 East Coffee
9 East Stephenson Street
Freeport, IL 61032

Boys & Girls Club of Freeport & Stephenson County
511 Liberty Street
Freeport, IL 61032

1100 West Galena Avenue
Freeport, IL 61032

Freeport Club
1614 Park Boulevard
Freeport, IL 61032

Freeport Public Library
100 E Douglas Street
Freeport , IL 61032

Freeport/Stephenson County Visitors Center
4596 U.S. 20
Freeport, IL 61032

Highland Community College
2998 W Pearl City Road
Freeport, IL 61032

Liberty Village
2140 Navajo Drive
Freeport, IL 61032

Lindo Theatre
115 S Chicago Avenue
Freeport, IL 61032

Parkview Home
1234 S Park Blvd
Freeport, IL 61032

Pearl City Public Library
221 S Main Street
Pearl City, IL 61061

Prince of Peace Lutheran Church
2700 W Stephenson Street
Freeport, IL 61032

Senior Resource Center
206 East Stephenson Street
Freeport, IL 61032

Stephenson County Historical Society
1440 South Carroll Avnue.
Freeport, IL 61032

United Presbyterian Church
302 W Stephenson Street
Freeport, IL 61032

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Book Discussions

Listing of Book Discussions

Download the Discussion Guide

Sponsors & Partnering Agencies

One Book, One Freeport is truly a community program. The partnering agencies make it all happen, providing funding or programming assistance. Most funding is provided by grants or community donations. We are thankful for all the support we receive.

The 2017 program is being funded by...

The Freeport Public Library Foundation

A good public library has to have adequate public support. To be great, a public library must also have private funding.

The Freeport Public Library Foundation helps keep our library great. It is a non-profit organization dedicated to attracting, managing, and allocating funding for the Freeport Public Library, thereby enriching the cultural, educational, and social resources of the community. It is the channel through which charitable contributions to the library are received and processed.

Organized in 1993, the foundation aids the library by providing assistance for technologies, materials, programs, and services that are beyond the scope of the library's operating budget.

Your gifts may be made in the present or in the future through a trust or will. The Foundation is a charitable organization under Federal law, making all gifts tax-deductible. For more information, visit

Freeport Community Foundation

The Freeport Community Foundation is a non-profit organization, 501(c)(3), guided by community leaders who are dedicated to providing financial solutions for current and future community needs through cooperative philanthropy.

The purpose of the Foundation is to provide for the well-being of the citizens of Freeport and Northwest Illinois by accumulating assets in the form of permanent funds and prudently distributing income from those funds to charitable organizations. For more information, visit

The Community Foundation of Northern Illinois

Founded in 1953 as a public charity, CFNIL is the area’s leading provider of grants and scholarships. With more than $85 million in assets and more than 400 individual funds, CFNIL provides charitable dollars, provided by generous donors, to the Northern Illinois community.

Funds at CFNIL are prudently invested and preserved as a way to provide permanent funding for community needs. Investment income is distributed to nonprofit agencies in the form of grants and scholarships, helping our community respond to the many needs of today and tomorrow. Nearly 90% of CFNIL's assets are permanently endowed, meaning that those assets will serve Boone, Ogle, Stephenson and Winnebago Counties in perpetuity. For more information, visit

The Illinois Humanities Council

The Illinois Humanities Council is an educational organization dedicated to fostering a culture in which the humanities are a vital part of the lives of individuals and communities. Through its programs and grants, the IHC promotes greater understanding of, appreciation for, and involvement in the humanities by all Illinoisans, regardless of their economic resources, cultural background, or geographic location. Organized as a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1973, the IHC is now a private nonprofit (501 [c] 3) organization that is funded by contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations; by the Illinois General Assembly through the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; and by the NEH. The IHC creates and funds numerous humanities activities throughout the state, including library discussions, seminars, lectures, performances, exhibitions, films, and written materials. Through these activities, the IHC serves as a catalyst in imaginative ventures which bring scholarship into the public forum. All our programs utilize a broad definition of the humanities -- their topics can range from history and literature to philosophy, folklore, historic preservation, archaeology, jurisprudence or comparative religion -- but all are committed to providing lifelong learning. The IHC has been at the crossroads of ideas, energizing cultural and civic life in Illinois for more than 35 years. - See more at


FHN is a regional healthcare system committed to the health and well-being of the people of northwest Illinois and southern Wisconsin. They have services nearby for all ages, so every member of your family can receive caring, personal, professional healthcare.

An average of 1,400 people visit FHN each day for their healthcare needs (that's more than 525,000 patient visits per year). FHN is the only healthcare provider in our service area that offers affiliations with all three major hospitals in Rockford, Illinois, as well as with the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics in Madison, Wisconsin.

They see each patient interaction as a serious responsibility that requires clinical expertise, access to the latest in medical technology and a level of trust and commitment that is earned by their people, their products and their processes. For more information, visit

Journal Standard

The Journal-Standard is your source for the latest breaking local news, sports, weather, business, jobs, real estate, shopping, health, travel and entertainment. The paper is published daily except Monday. For more information go to

Partnering Agencies

Partnering agencies provide the energy that make this program work. Please thank them for their continuing aid and support:

Freeport Public Library Freeport Public Library Foundation Illinois Humanities Council Stephenson County Convention and Visitor’s Center The Journal-Standard Boys & Girls Club of Freeport and Stephenson County Classic Cinemas Lindo Theater University of Illinois Extension Highland Community College Stephenson County Historical Society FHN Community Foundation of Northern Illinois Freeport Community Foundation Northwest Illinois Audubon Society Senior Resource Center

Donations from You

Any tax-free donations would be greatly appreciated to help fund this program in the future. Please forward your letters to:

One Book, One Freeport
Freeport Public Library
100 East Douglas Street
Freeport, IL 61032 Back to top

About Us

The "One Book" movement began in 1998 when Nancy Pearl, executive director of the Washington Center for the Book in the Seattle Public Library, initiated "If All Seattle Read the Same Book." With funding from the Lila Wallace Reader's Digest Fund and several local sponsors, she invited members of the public to read the novel "The Sweet Hereafter" by Russell Banks, and brought the author to Seattle for three days in December to discuss his book in a series of free public programs.

The mission of the program at the Freeport Public Library 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.

The inaugural program ran in January and February of 2011, featuring the book Playing with the Enemy by Gary Moore. The Freeport community enthusiastically embraced the program. Participation was high and reviews were positive.

The second program began January 5, 2013 and ran through April 7, 2013. It featured I Came A Stranger by Hilda Satt Polacheck. The displays were a great addition to the program. Copies of the book were given to other libraries and schools in Stephenson County, widening the audience.

The third program ran from February to April 2015, and focused on the book Rocket Boys by Homer Hickam, Jr. Displays at the Freeport Art Museum and personal stories of growing up in a coal mining town helped bring the book to life. Readers enjoyed building and launching an actual rocket at the conclusion of the program.

Committee members for One Book, One Freeport 2017:

If you would like to help organize 2019’s One Book, One Freeport Program, or for more information, comments, or suggestions about One Book, One Freeport, please contact:

Laura F. Keyes
Head of Adult Services
Freeport Public Library
100 East Douglas Street
Freeport, IL 61032
815-233-3000 x221

Be sure to check out the Freeport Public Library on Facebook to stay up-to-date with all the latest happenings.

Freeport All In

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For the Media

01/03/2017: One Book, One Freeport: Free Books and Programs for the Community
01/03/2017: $3,500 One Book, One Freeport Grant Awarded to Freeport Public Library
02/07/2017: $5,849 One Book, One Freeport Grant Awarded to Freeport Public Library Back to top