She moved from the Post to ABC News, where she was part of a team that won an Emmy and a Peabody for her work on 9/11 and its aftermath. As a correspondent in the ABC Washington bureau, Norris covered presidential campaigns and government policy and returned to the education beat using the schoolhouse as a window to better understand a changing America.
In 2002, she joined National Public Radio, where she stayed for 13 years and, among other things, became the first African American female host of “All Things Considered.” While at NPR, she received a duPont Award, a national Distinguished Dialogue Award and was named journalist of the year by the National Association of Black Journalists.
In 2010, she published “The Grace of Silence: A Memoir,” in which she trained her formidable interviewing skills on her own family while exploring a complex and sometimes hidden history around the way race can undermine or overshadow the American Dream.
In the fall of 2010, Norris founded the Race Card Project, inviting people from all over the world to distill their experiences and thoughts about race into six words. The exercise, and later the website, turned into a massive archive where hundreds of thousands of people use the six-word-invitation as the springboard to a much deeper conversation about race, identity, belonging and the vertigo that so often accompanies cultural shifts. The Race Card Project won a Peabody Award in 2014 for excellence in electronic communication for the website and an NPR series of special reports based on stories from the archive.
Norris has been writing occasional columns over the past year, confronting the political use of the world “lynching” and exploring why candidates talk so little about childcare. She also helped to conceive and curate the Toni Morrison retrospective we published after the author’s death in August.
Born and raised in Minneapolis, Norris studied engineering at the University of Wisconsin. She later changed her major to journalism and graduated from the University of Minnesota. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband, Broderick Johnson. Their three children have left the nest and are out in the world making their parents proud.