If you ever saw the 1989 movie "Glory" (or know your Civil War history) you may know about the 54th Mass.Infantry. Formed from the Civil War’s first call for black soldiers in 1863, more than than 1,000 men answered the call, many from outside Massachusetts.

"Now or Never! 54th Massachusetts Infantry's War to End Slavery" will be the subject of a talk, reading, book signing and reception with author Ray Anthony Shepard. The event is a benefit for the Clinton Church Restoration in Great Barrington. It takes place Saturday May 5 from 6-8 P.M. at the First Congregational Church, 251 Main St., Great Barrington.

According to his website bio, Shepard is "a grandson of a slave, a former teacher, and retired editor-in-chief of a major education publishing company."  "Now or Never!" is his first work of creative non-fiction. It is described as "the story of George E. Stephens and James Henry Gooding, two Civil War soldiers and journalists who risked enslavement and death to liberate enslaved African Americans. Stephens and Gooding fought Confederates on the battlefield and their own Union Army behind the lines."

Donations at the door and proceeds from all book sales will benefit Clinton Church Restoration.