“Hi, I’m Oprah Winfrey. I’m the new host of A.M. Chicago…. Miss Negro on the air.” -Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Gail Winfrey was born on January 29, 1954. She was born in Kosciusko, Mississippi, a small farming community. Her birth name was Orpah but her family soon changed it to Oprah. The reason they did this is because most could not pronounce her name correctly.
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Oprah’s parents were never married and seperated after her birth. At a very young age Oprah lived with her grandmother. Oprah’s grandmother made it a priority that she advanced in her education. At the age of three, she had already learned how to read and write. Oprah’s local neighborhood started calling her “The Little Speaker.” She also started school many grades ahead of kids her age. Oprah had also learned about the Lord while she was young. She would even recite poems and verses out of the Bible during mass.
At the age of six, she lived with her mother again. Her mother was always working and Oprah felt like she wasn’t paying enough attention to her. As a result, Oprah started to misbehave and her mother didn’t want to deal with it any longer. She sent Oprah to go live with her father. Her father was very strict and did not put up with much. Not very long after she moved, she received news that her mother was pregnant. Her mother insisted that Oprah returned to live with her. When Oprah was living with her mom the only friends she had were farm animals. In her free time she wrote skits including them. When Oprah was nine, she was raped by her mother’s boyfriend and his close friends. She never told anyone because she couldn’t trust anybody and she thought she would get in trouble. At the age of thirteen, she ran away from her home. At fourteen, Oprah became pregnant with a baby boy. After the birth, the baby got very sick and died. Her mom then sent her to live with her father.
Her father’s main priority was education. As a teenager, Oprah attended Nashville East High School. She didn’t know exactly what she wanted to do with her life, but she knew she wanted to be involved with public speaking or drama. Oprah was elected school president. She was very excited about it. Because of the public speaking classes, she was able to meet President Richard Nixon. During her senior year, she was asked if she wanted a job on the radio. After thinking about it for awhile, she decided to take it. In high school Oprah also participated in a public speaking contest. The grand prize was a full scholarship to Tennessee State University. She was amazed when she won.
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