In 2010, as NPR host and special correspondent Michele Norris traveled the country to promote her family memoir “The Grace of Silence” she had an idea. To engage the audience at her readings, she handed out postcards and, "I asked people to think about their experiences, questions, hopes, dreams, laments or observations about race and identity. Then, I asked that they take those thoughts and distill them to just one sentence that had only six words. People took the cards with them and mulled over the assignment. I hoped that a few might send them back to me via email or through the U.S. Postal Service. . . Dozens of those little postcards started arriving in the mail every week and bit by bit, more and more of those little six-word “essays” piled up in my inbox from all over the country, and then amazingly from all over the world.”
She created The Race Card Project™ as a website and the project has earned a deep well of trust on a thorny topic as evidenced by the candor and depth of the submissions. The Six Word essays provide a window into America's private conversations about race and cultural identity. As such, the website has been used by schools, businesses, churches and even the military to foster a dialogue about race. The Six Word stories are also featured regularly in reports by Michele Norris on NPR's Morning Edition.
The Reference Services department at is hosting its own Race Card Project. Please visit us on Floor 3 of Central Library through the month of July to contribute your own story and enrich our local conversation. Or leave your comments here, and we will be happy to add them to our collection.