Award-winning radio journalist Michele Norris, former longtime co-host of NPR’s All Things Considered, will share her experiences with race, culture and communication in a keynote lecture called “Eavesdropping on America's Conversation on Race,” at 2 p.m. on March 31 in the Student Center Ballroom at Wayne State University. The event is free and open to the public.
During this collaboration between the Wayne State University Libraries, Computing and Information Technology, and the associate provost for diversity and inclusion, Norris will also sign copies of her book, The Grace of Silence: A Memoir, immediately following the keynote lecture.
“We are thrilled to welcome Michele Norris to campus,” said Jon E. Cawthorne, dean of the Wayne State University Library System. “We introduced the Race Card Project in the libraries last year. We believe Michele Norris offers a unique, inclusive perspective on race and diversity that will encourage more dialogue after the event.”
In 2002, Norris became the first African American female co-host of National Public Radio's news magazine All Things Considered — public radio's longest-running national program — with Robert Siegel and Melissa Block. During a sabbatical from that program during the 2012 presidential campaign, Norris traveled the country and developed The Race Card Project, an initiative where people are invited to share their feelings and beliefs about race and identity in six words. The project has archived tens of thousands of stories from all 50 states and more than 60 countries and is now used in hundreds of schools, colleges and communities as a forum for sparking dialogue.
“The most productive conversations around race are probably the ones you never hear,” said Norris. “We want to help people understand the conversation that’s percolating in America in private spaces.”
In September 2010, Norris released The Grace of Silence: A Memoir, which focuses on how America talks about race in the wake of Barack Obama's presidential election, and explores her own family's racial legacy. Using her memoir as a catalyst for conversation, Norris has addressed thousands of students through campus "One Book" programs, encouraging discussions about the history of race relations in the United States.
“Michele Norris’s work on race relations has propelled conversations around the world — I’m excited to see the momentum carry through to Wayne State,” said Marquita Chamblee, associate provost for diversity and inclusion and chief diversity officer. “We have engaged in intentional conversations about race and racism on campus over the past few years. I see Michele’s visit as a significant contribution to that work.”
Norris, born in Minnesota, graduated with a degree in journalism and mass communications from the University of Minnesota. Starting as a local news reporter, she was soon featured in The Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times. She then became a correspondent for ABC News from 1993 and 2002 before joining All Things Considered.
Norris has received numerous awards for her work, including the 2010 Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Award for "The York Project: Race and the 2008 Vote," the 2009 Journalist of the Year award from the National Association of Black Journalists, and the National Association of Black Journalists' 2006 Salute to Excellence Award for her coverage of Hurricane Katrina. In 2007, she was honored with Ebony Magazine's eighth Annual Outstanding Women in Marketing & Communications Award, and in 2009 was named one of Essence Magazine's "25 Most Influential Black Americans." Norris also earned both an Emmy Award and Peabody Award for her contribution to ABC News' coverage of 9/11.
This year, the Race Card wall at Wayne State is located in the Reuther Library. For those who would like participate virtually, contributions can be shared through the online portal at theracecardproject.com/wayne-state/ or on Twitter @waynestateracecard or the hashtag #waynestateracecard.
For more information, or to RSVP, visit https://rsvp.wayne.edu/award-winning-radio-journalist-michele-norris-lecture-and-book-signing
The Wayne State University Library System consists of the university's five libraries: The David Adamany Undergraduate Library, the Purdy/Kresge Library, the Shiffman Medical Library, the Arthur Neef Law Library and the Reuther Library as well as the School of Information Sciences.
Wayne State University is a premier institution offering nearly 350 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 27,000 students.