Meet Author Ray Anthony Shepard

Ray Anthony Shepard’s biographies provide young readers with an engaging and corrective understanding of race in American lives. Ray is a retired history teacher and textbook editor and now writes books that didn’t exist when he was in the classroom and books he couldn’t publish as an editor.

Ray Anthony Shepard, Author


A Long Time Coming

Kirkus Reviews Best Book, 2023
School Library Journal Best Book, 2023
Booklist Best Book 2023
SCBWI Golden Kite Finalist
Texas Topaz, Best Nonfiction, 2024


Jane Addams Honor Book

Now or Never!

Kirkus Reviews Best Books
Carter G. Woodson Honor Book

Ray Anthony Shepard is available for appearances & events.

Contact him to learn more about speaking engagements.


Biographer’s International Organization: Episode #8

In this week’s episode, we interview Ray Anthony Shepard, author of Now or Never!: 54th Massachusetts Infantry’s Fight to End Slavery. This interview was recorded during BIO’s May 2018 annual conference in New York City. Listen now…

Historically Thinking: Episode #120

On Saturday, July 18, 1863, the 54thMassachusetts Regiment attacked Fort Wagner, a Confederate fortification defending Charleston Harbor. The assault began at about 7:45 PM. Within two hours, of the 624 men who made the attack, 54 were killed, 149 were wounded, 76 taken prisoner—half the regiment killed, wounded or captured.

But Fort Wagner was not the beginning of the story of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry nor its end. The complete story of both the regiment and the men who formed it is told by Ray Anthony Shepard in his book Now or Never: 54th Massachusetts Infantry’s War to End Slavery, written for middle-readers, but, as one reviewer wrote, “an enlightening read for adults as well.” Ray Shepard has been both a teacher and an editor; this is his first book of creative non-fiction. Listen now…


Biographers International Organization: Black Lives / Young Readers

Being a biographer for young readers who writes about Black lives in America is a conundrum that goes beyond a writer’s normal anxieties. Let me count the ways. Read more…


Meet-the-Author Recording with Ray Anthony Shepard and R. Gregory Christie

Full of daring escapes, deep emotion, and subtle lessons on how racism operates, this collective biography-in-verse spotlights six important Black Americans from different eras. From freedom-seeker Ona Judge, who fled her enslavement by America’s first president, to Barack Obama, the first Black president, each subject fights valiantly for justice for both themselves and for all Black Americans. A Long Time Coming is also a highly personal book; Shepard, whose maternal grandfather was enslaved, shows how the grand sweep of history has touched his life. His reflections reveal how much progress has been made against racism, even as he exhorts readers to continue the vast work that remains to be done. Award-winning illustrator R. Gregory Christie’s stark black-and-white artwork adds essential layers of meaning to this powerful volume. Read more & listen…

Want to know about news & events?

Sign up for the mailing list to be notified in your inbox.