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Inclusion and Multicultural Engagement

Michele Norris: The Grace of Silence

Date: 4:00pm PST January 21, 2011 Location: Council Chamber (Templeton Campus Center)

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    Michele Norris, Host of NPR's "All Things Considered"

Council Chamber (Templeton Campus Center)

As part the week’s observance of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and the commencement of our Black History Month celebration, the Office of Multicultural Affairs invites you to hear Michele Norris, Host of NPR’s “All Things Considered” and author of the new memoir The Grace of Silenceon January 21 at 4 p.m. in Council Chambers.


This event is FREE to the Lewis & Clark community only. It will be a ticketed event, as it is not open to the public. You can RSVP at and pick up tickets at the Multicultural Office January 5-20, between 8:30-5 p.m., located on the third floor of Templeton.


About The Grace of Silence:

In the wake of talk of a “postracial” America upon Barack Obama’s ascension as president of the United States, Michele Norris set out to write, through original reporting, a book about “the hidden conversation” on race that is unfolding nationwide. She would, she thought, base her book on the frank disclosures of others on the subject, but she was soon disabused of her presumption when forced to confront the fact that “the conversation” in her own family had not been forthright.

Norris unearthed painful family secrets that compelled her to question her own self-understanding: from her father’s shooting by a Birmingham police officer weeks after his discharge from the navy at the conclusion of World War II to her maternal grandmother’s peddling pancake mix as an itinerant Aunt Jemima to white farm women in the Midwest. In what became a profoundly personal and bracing journey into her family’s past, Norris traveled from her childhood home in Minneapolis to her ancestral roots in the Deep South to explore the reasons for the “things left unsaid” by her father and mother when she was growing up, the better to come to terms with her own identity. Along the way she discovered how her character was forged by both revelation and silence.

Extraordinary for Norris’s candor in examining her own racial legacy and what it means to be an American,The Grace of Silence is also informed by rigorous research in its evocation of time and place, scores of interviews with ordinary folk, and wise observations about evolving attitudes, at once encouraging and disturbing, toward race in America today. For its particularity and universality, it is powerfully moving, a tour de force.

(Excerpted from Random House)

The Grace of Silence is available for purchase at the Lewis & Clark Bookstore.


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