NPR’s Michele Norris to deliver diversity lecture at Emporia State

September 17, 2013

Michele NorrisPerceptions of race in the United States is the focus of the upcoming 2013 Bonner and Bonner Diversity Lecture at Emporia State University. Award-winning journalist Michele Norris will present her Race Card Project at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25, in Albert Taylor Hall.

Norris is a host and special correspondent for National Public Radio. Previously, she served as co-host of NPR's newsmagazine “All Things Considered,” public radio's longest-running national program, with Robert Siegel and Melissa Block. Norris began hosting the program in December 2002 and stepped away from those duties during the 2012 presidential campaign. While on sabbatical, Norris spent time traveling the country and developing two successful initiatives: The Race Card Project and NPR's Backseat Book Club. Her new role allows her to continue this work while producing in-depth segments for all NPR programs.

In September 2010, Norris released her book, “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. It was called one of the best books of 2010 by The Christian Science Monitor. The Race Card Project came out of Norris’ work on the book.

“My idea was to use these little black postcards to get the conversation started,” said Norris, explaining the project. “But I quickly realized once I hit the road on my book tour that I didn’t really need that kind of incentive. All over the country people who came to hear about my story wound up sharing their own.”

Blank Race Card Project postcards will be available at the lecture.

Although the Bonner lecture is free, all seats are reserved and require a ticket. Stop by Union Services in the Memorial Union between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or call (620) 341-6378 or (877) 341-6378 for tickets.

Book cover: The Grace of SilenceCopies of “The Grace of Silence” (Random House, $24.95 hardcover; $15.95 trade paperback) are available at the Memorial Union Bookstore on the Emporia State campus. They also will be sold in the Plumb Hall Rotunda after the lecture, and Norris will be available to sign them. For more information about Norris, go to

The Bonner and Bonner Lecture Series was established in 1992 by Drs. Thomas and Mary Bonner, ESU’s first and second African American faculty members. In 2002, it received a $400,000 from Pepsi and was renamed the Bonner and Bonner Diversity Lecture Series.

The series provides a valuable window to diversity, promoting tolerance and understanding on campus, in the community and throughout the state. For more information, go to




Achievement - Emporia State University

Check out our students' achievements and accomplishments on Emporia State's site