The Grace of Silence: A Memoir (Google eBook)

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Sep 21, 2010 - Biography & Autobiography - 304 pages
15 Reviews
In the wake of talk of a “postracial” America upon Barack Obama’s ascension as president of the United States, Michele Norris, cohost of National Public Radio’s flagship program All Things Considered, 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.

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Review: The Grace of Silence: A Memoir

User Review  - Deborah - Goodreads

Excellent, it brought back so many menories of growing up in the 50's and 60's. Traveling across the country and my father going in the stores and restaurants and seeing if they served Negroes. How ... Read full review

Review: The Grace of Silence: A Memoir

User Review  - Nanette Bulebosh - Goodreads

Norris is about my age and, like me, grew up in the Midwest (her Minnesota to my Illinois) in a middle-class family. We're both also the youngest of three girls. Yet, in some ways, our childhoods ... Read full review


Block Busters II
be Aunt jemimas
The Garden
The Docket
4 Service
The Shooting
IO The War at Home
A Date with Justice
I2 Home
Acknowledgments 197

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About the author (2010)

Michele Norris, host of All Things Considered, is cowinner of the Alfred I. duPont–Columbia University Award for The York Project: Race and the ‘08 Vote and was chosen in 2009 as Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists. She has written for, among other publications, The Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and the Los Angeles Times. As a correspondent for ABC News from 1993 to 2002, she earned Emmy and Peabody awards for her contribution to the network’s 9/11 reporting. She has been a frequent guest commentator on Meet the Press, The Chris Matthews Show, and Charlie Rose. Norris lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and children.

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