University of St. Francis welcomes National Public Radio host

Michele Norris to discuss ‘The Race Card Project’

Award-winning journalist named by Essence magazine as one of the “25 Most Influential Black Americans,” Michele Norris will bring her “The Race Card Project” to the University of St. Francis (USF).

Norris will present “The Race Card Project” at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 15, at USF’s Sullivan Recreation Center. The public is invited and admission is free. Audience members may participate in “The Race Card Project” by submitting postcards at the event. Norris’s presentation will be followed by a question and answer session and a book signing. For information, contact (815) 740-5072.

Through “The Race Card Project,” Norris uses postcards as conversation starters on race in America. She asks that people distill their thoughts into just one six-word sentence. “The submissions are thoughtful, funny, heartbreaking, brave, teeming with anger and shimmering with hope. Some will with make you smile. Others might make you squirm. And there are a few that might make you wonder why they deserve a place on the website’s Race Card Wall,” Norris wrote on her website,

“Despite all the talk about America’s consternation or cowardice when it comes to talking about race, I seemed to have found auditorium after auditorium full of people who were more than willing to unburden themselves on this prickly topic,” noted Norris on her website.

Presently, Norris is a host and special correspondent for National Public Radio, where she served as co-host of NPR’s newsmagazine “All Things Considered,” public radio’s longest-running national program. Norris began hosting the program in 2002 and stepped away from her All Things Considered duties during the 2012 presidential campaign.  While on sabbatical, Norris spent a time traveling the country and developing two successful initiatives: The Race Card Projectand NPR’sBackseat Book Club.”

Norris has a voice that is undeniably recognizable. She has presented leading news, weighing in on American culture, including race and the influence of new media since she joined NPR in 2002. Prior to her tenure at NPR, she served as an ABC News correspondent where she covered education, America’s inner cities, the national drug problem, poverty and most recognizably, the aftermath of 9/11.

Norris has received many honors in journalism for her insight into American culture and social issues including: the Peabody Award, duPont Award and Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists. She was recently named Essence magazine’s “25 Most Influential Black Americans.”

In 2010, Norris published her first book, “The Grace of Silence: A Memoir.”  The book focuses on how America talks about race in the wake of the Obama presidency, and how her own complex legacy has shaped her dedication to informing others through sound and voice.

The University of St. Francis, at 500 Wilcox St. in Joliet, serves 45,000 alumni and 3,400 students nationwide. Undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs are offered in arts and science, business, education, nursing, health care and social work. For information, call (800) 735-7500 or visit

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