NPR Journalist Talks About Race Through Family History

Oct 9, 2013

Last night, Michele Norris of All Things Considered spoke to a crowd at Transylvania University Tuesday about her memoir, “The Grace of Silence.”

It details how her parents finally spoke up about painful experiences from their lives during segregation.  Norris believes that by bringing them up, they can help inspire action.   

“So I understand there’s grace in silence, and I benefited from my parents not sharing all their tales of woe, but there’s power in dialog, and there’s power in history, and there’s power in understanding," she said.

Hearing these stories, such as her father being shot by police in Alabama, and her grandmother working as a "traveling Aunt Jemima," was painful.  However, by exploring her family’s pent up past, Norris was able to gain a better understanding of American racial issues and her family’s place in it.

By looking back, she says other can get a better understanding of both race and themselves.

Norris was the first African-American woman to host All Things Considered, and works as a special correspondent at NPR.