This story is an inspirational story of the richest African-American woman of the 20th century. She is best known as the most successful American media executive, television producer, host and philanthropist in the world. Yes! We are talking about the most influential woman in the world, Oprah Winfrey. Let’s discuss about the inspirational story of Oprah Winfrey.
Oprah Winfrey was born on 29th January 1954 in Kosciusko, Mississippi, the United States. Oprah was born to Vernita Lee who was a housewife and Vernon Winfrey, a barber. Vernon Winfrey was her biological father who never married her mother. Oprah had a very difficult childhood as her mother left her on a farm with her strict grandmother. Her grandmother oftentimes beat her with a stick if she did not do what she was ordered to do. It was her grandmother who taught her to read and write. In one of her interviews, Oprah recalls her strict granny as one of her role models.
Her grandmother used to take her to the church where people nicknamed her “The Preacher”. At the age of 6, she returned to her mother and they moved to an inner-city neighbourhood Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Despite horrible poverty, constant humiliation, and a complicated life, Oprah continued to give her public performances. At a church meeting, everybody used to call her “The Little Speaker”.
At the age of 8, Oprah stole some money from her mother and ran from her mother’s house to live with her father. After a year, her mother called her back Milwaukee, where despair and tragedy were in the air. At the age of 9, she was raped by her cousin, then by a family member, and then again by a family member. At the age of 13, she again tried to run out of her mother’s home because she had got tired of humiliation and harassment.
She again stole some money from her mother and ran away. When her money got over, she went to a pastor asking for help. He brought her back to her mother’s house but her mother did not allow her to live there. At the age of 14, she became pregnant and gave birth to a premature child who died shortly after birth. She used to live in a shelter which was very dirty. Her father took her back from that dirty and cold place. Oprah, in one of her interviews, said that her father saved her life by taking her back.
Despite such a miserable childhood, this girl kept on dreaming about wonderful countries, things, and places show would read in books.
At the age of 15, she was chosen to perform at the church Choir in California. She even became the head of a school council and took part in the school drama club. At the age of 16, she won an oratory contest of Elks Club and managed to get a full scholarship at Tennessee State University. President Nixon invited Oprah to the White House as an outstanding American teenager & representative of the black youth of Nashville.
During the first year at Tennessee State University, she became Miss Tennessee and later Miss Black Nashville. She even took part in the beauty pageant “Miss Black America”. Soon after that, she became the first black female assistant to Nashville’s evening news anchor. At this time. She was only 19 years old.
In the second year of college, she became a news anchor on Nashville’s television. She was the first African-American woman to take that position. By the end of her graduation, she was offered the position of a reporter in Baltimore & co-anchor of 6 o’clock news on WJZ-TV. Slowly, Oprah’s rating surged up because of her achievements.
After spending 6 years at WJZ-TV, she was invited to Chicago to host WLS-TV’s low-rated show “AM Chicago”. She signed a four-year contract with an annual fee of $200,000. The show achieved the highest ratings for a year only after one month Oprah’s contract. Soon her show became successful all over the United States.
In 1985, Oprah started her acting career with a cameo role in the series of “American Masters”. Soon her movie was released and her debut was praised by everyone. She even got nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe for the Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the movie. She even started her own TV show “The Oprah Winfrey Show” which became an instant success.
Oprah even donates for charity and has contributed a lot as a philanthropist. She is the most influential person for a reason. There is so much to learn from the inspiration story of Oprah Winfrey.