Michele Norris

Eli Turner Photography

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Literary Arts

Michele Norris

Tuesday, February 4, 2025 7:30 pm PST

02/04/2025 7:30 pm 02/04/2025 America/Los_Angeles Michele Norris https://lectures.org/event/michele-norris/ Benaroya Hall — S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium

At Benaroya Hall — S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium

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In Person & Online

For decades, Michele Norris has been at the heart of American journalism, with her role as host for NPR’s flagship radio show All Things Considered from 2002-2011, and her other work at multiple outlets through the years. She was the first African American female host at NPR, and she has won multiple awards for her journalistic contributions. In 2010, Norris began the Race Card Project, in which she invited people to share their thoughts about race. It is this ground-breaking endeavor that made her book, Our Hidden Conversations, possible.

The prompt seemed simple: Race. Your Thoughts. Six Words. Please Send.

The answers, though, have been challenging and complicated. In the twelve years since award-winning journalist Michele Norris first posed that question, over half a million people have submitted their stories to The Race Card Project inbox. The stories are shocking in their depth and candor, spanning the full spectrum of race, ethnicity, identity, and class. Even at just six words, the micro-essays can pack quite a punch, revealing, fear, pain, triumph, and sometimes humor. Responses such as: You’re Pretty for a Black girl. White privilege, enjoy it, earned it. Lady, I don’t want your purse. My ancestors massacred Indians near here. Urban living has made me racist. I’m only Asian when it’s convenient.

Many go even further than just six words, submitting backstories, photos, and heirlooms: a collection much like a scrapbook of American candor you rarely get to see. Our Hidden Conversations is a unique compilation of stories, richly reported essays, and photographs providing a window into America during a tumultuous era. This powerful book offers an honest, if sometimes uncomfortable, conversation about race and identity, permitting us to eavesdrop on deep-seated thoughts, private discussions, and long submerged memories.

The breadth of this work came as a surprise to Norris. For most of the twelve years she has collected these stories, many were submitted by white respondents. This unexpected panorama provides a rare 360-degree view of how Americans see themselves and one another.

Our Hidden Conversations reminds us that even during times of great division, honesty, grace, and a willing ear can provide a bridge toward empathy and maybe even understanding.

Michele Norris is one of America’s most trusted voices in journalism, earning several honors over a long career, including Peabody, Emmy, Dupont, and Goldsmith awards. She is a columnist for The Washington Post Opinion Section, the host of the Audible Original Podcast, Your Mama’s Kitchen, and from and from 2002 to 2012 she was a cohost of NPR’s All Things Considered. Norris is also the founding director of The Race Card Project, a Peabody Award–winning narrative archive where people around the world share their reflections on identity—in just six words.

Norris’ first book, The Grace of Silence, was named one of the best books of the year by the San Francisco ChronicleThe Christian Science Monitor, and The Kansas City Star. Before joining NPR, Norris spent almost ten years as a reporter for ABC News covering politics, policy, and the dynamics of social change. Early in her career, she also worked as a staff writer for The Washington PostChicago Tribune, and the Los Angeles Times.

Event Details

Benaroya Hall — S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium

200 University Street
Seattle, WA 98101

View directions.

Know Before You Go

Can't find your tickets?

Most tickets have been emailed for this event, so be sure to check your inbox for an email from boxoffice@lectures.org. Email or call us at 206-621-2230 x10 if you can’t find them.

For in-person attendance:Your e-tickets have been emailed unless you selected “Will Call” as your ticket delivery upon checkout. Will Call tickets will be available to pick up at the SAL Box Office starting at 6 p.m. the night of your event.

For online attendance: If you purchased a streaming pass, SAL will send a pre-event reminder email with instructions to log in and access the online stream on the day of the event. The night of your event, return to lectures.org/event/michele-norris and enter the password where prompted. The program begins at 7:30 p.m. (PT) and will be available for viewing for a week after the event. If you have opted out of receiving SAL emails, you will miss this important information—please email us at boxoffice@lectures.org and we will assist you.

Seating in the Hall

For the in-person event, the lobby doors and SAL Box Office open at 6 p.m. (PT). The auditorium doors will open at approximately 6:30 p.m. (PT) for seating.

All seating is General Admission by section with the exception of Grand Patron seats, which are reserved.

Late seating is permitted at SAL events. However, your seat is not guaranteed after the program has begun.

Have a question for the speaker?

Want to ask our speaker something? We invite you to submit questions for our Q&A. Check your pre-event email for a link!

Books

Our partner bookstore will have books available for sale at their table in the lobby and on their website.

There will be no book signing after the event.

Patrons & Grand Patrons, Have a Drink on SAL!

Patron & Grand Patron seating includes a pre-event drink ticket! Check your pre-event email for details.

Need an exchange?

Please note: in-person tickets do not include digital access. (Curious to learn why? Check out our FAQ.) If you need to exchange your in-person ticket for a digital pass, SAL kindly asks that you please contact the box office before noon on the day of your event.

Tickets and subscriptions are non-refundable.

Transportation & Parking

This event will be held in the S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium, the largest event space at Benaroya Hall. 

Benaroya Hall is located at 200 University Street, directly across Second Avenue from the Seattle Art Museum. The public entrance to Benaroya Hall is along Third Avenue.

By Car

  • From Southbound I-5
    Take the Union Street exit (#165B). Continue onto Union Street and proceed approximately five blocks to Second Avenue. Turn left onto Second Avenue. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your immediate left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.
  • From Northbound I-5
    Exit left onto Seneca Street (exit #165). Proceed two blocks and turn right onto Fourth Avenue. Continue two blocks. Turn left onto Union Street. Continue two blocks. Turn left onto Second Avenue. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your immediate left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.
  • From Northbound I-5 via Westbound I-90
    Take the 2C exit for I-5 North. Follow signs for Madison Street/Convention Place and merge right onto Seventh Avenue. Turn left onto Madison Street. Proceed three blocks and turn right onto Fourth Avenue. Continue four blocks. Turn left onto Union Street. Continue two blocks. Turn left onto Second Avenue. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your immediate left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.

By Public Transit (Bus & Light Rail)

Benaroya Hall is served by numerous bus routes. Digital reader boards along Third Avenue display real-time bus arrival information. For details and trip planning tools, call Metro Rider Information at 206.553.3000 (voice) or 206.684.1739 (TDD), or visit Metro online. The Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel, served by light rail, has a stop just below the Hall (University Street Station).

Parking

The 430-car underground garage at Benaroya Hall provides direct access from the enclosed parking area into the Hall via elevators leading to The Boeing Company Gallery. Enter the garage on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street. Maximum vehicle height is 6’8″. ChargePoint charging stations are available for electric vehicles. Visit the Benaroya Hall website for event pricing.

Parking is also available at:

  • The Cobb Building (enter on University Street between Third and Fourth avenues).
  • The Russell Investments Center (enter on Union Street between First and Second avenues).
  • There are many other garages within a one-block radius of Benaroya Hall, along with numerous on-street parking options.

Accessibility

Open Captioning is an option for people who have hearing loss, where a captioning screen displaying the words that are spoken or sung is placed on stage. This option is present at every event at Benaroya Hall in our 2021/22 Season.

Closed Captioning is an option for people who have hearing loss, where captioning displays the words that are spoken or sung at the bottom of the video during an online event. Captioning is available for all online events; click the “CC” button to view captions during the event.

Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs) are devices that people with hearing loss use in conjunction with their hearing device (hearing aids or cochlear implants). Benaroya Hall has an infrared hearing system, which transmits sound by light beams. Headsets are available in The Boeing Company Gallery coat check and the Head Usher stations in both lobbies.

Sign Language Interpretation is available upon request for Deaf, DeafBlind, and hard of hearing individuals for both in-person and online events. To make a request for interpretation, please contact us at boxoffice@lectures.org or 206.621.2230×10, or select “Sign Language Interpretation” from the Accessibility section during your ticket checkout process and we will contact you to confirm details. Please note: we appreciate a two-week advance notice to allow us time to secure interpretation.

Wheelchair Accessible Seating and Accessible Restrooms are available in all sections at our venues, and our venues are fully accessible to ticket holders with physical mobility concerns. Among other features, Benaroya Hall has designated parking spaces adjacent to elevators in their parking garage. Elevators with Braille signage go to all levels within the Hall. To reserve seating for a specific mobility concern, you may select “Wheelchair Accessible or Alternative Seating Options” during ticket checkout, and we will contact you to confirm details. For more details on their accessibility features, click here.

Guide and service dogs are welcome.

Gender neutral restrooms are available.

We are pleased to offer these accessibility services at our venues, and they are provided at no additional cost to ticket holders. Please contact us with any questions and feedback about how we can be more accessible and inclusive. Our Patron Services Manager is available at boxoffice@lectures.org, or Tuesday-Friday, from 12 noon–5 p.m., at 206.621.2230×10.

For more accessibility information, please head to lectures.org/accessibility. If you would like to make accessibility arrangements you do not see listed here, please contact our box office or select “Other Accommodations” from the Accessibility section during your ticket checkout process, and we will contact you to confirm details.

Sponsors

Magnum Opus Sponsor