News & Information

Sac State One Book: The Grace of Silence


Michele Norris’ acclaimed memoir, The Grace of Silence, is Sacramento State’s One Book selection for the 2011-12 academic year. Norris, one of the hosts of National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered,” began the book as an analysis of race in the Obama era. When she realized that discussions about race in her own family were not completely honest, the book became a personal memoir.

The Grace of Silence will be incorporated into a wide range of courses campuswide and is the subject of a number of events, highlighted by the author’s visit Thursday, Oct. 20. The public is invited to a community lecture by Norris at 7 p.m. that day in the University Union Ballroom, followed by a book signing at 8 p.m.

Earlier that day, Norris will have a panel discussion and question-and-answer session with students in the University’s First Year programs, and address a special convocation of the campus community.

Norris co-hosted NPR’s Democratic presidential candidates debate in 2008, covered both national conventions and anchored multi-hour Election Day coverage. She was named Journalist of the Year in 2009 by the National Association of Black Journalists and won the University of Minnesota’s Outstanding Achievement Award for her coverage of Hurricane Katrina. Norris was also on the ABC News team that earned Emmy and Peabody awards for coverage of the 9/11 attacks.

Other One Book events at Sacramento State include three movies that reinforce the book’s message of dealing with stereotypes. “Ethnic Notions” will be screened at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 4; “Bamboozled” at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1; and “Devil in a Blue Dress” at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 6. All three will be shown in Library Room 1010 and are free and open to the public.

Fall semester events wrap up with the performance of a student-written mini-musical based on The Grace of Silence, 5:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9, in Capistrano Hall Room 143.

The signature event for Spring 2012 will be a “long read” event sponsored and organized by the General Education Honors Program. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, March 27 and 28, students from the Honors Program will read the book aloud in the Library Quad for the campus community.

The Grace of Silence brings to the forefront how many of our nation’s social and racial issues are informed by events of public and national importance and by our own personal histories,” says One Book faculty coordinator, Professor Hellen Lee-Keller. “We are delighted to bring Norris to our campus to help continue our University’s ongoing conversations about diversity and social justice.”

For more information on the One Book Program and this year’s selection, visit For media assistance, call Sacramento State’s Public Affairs office at (916) 278-6156.

– Craig Koscho