On January 29. 1954 Oprah Gail Winfrey was born to unwed teenage parents in Kosciusko, Mississippi. For the first six years of her life her grandmother raised her on a Mississippi farm. While in her grandmother’s care she was taught to read at a very early age. This grew into a love of reading that she still has today.
At the age of six her mother, Vernita Lee, decided that she could care for her daughter and Oprah was sent to live with her mother in Milwaukee. From the age of six to thirteen, Oprah stayed with her mother. During this time a cousin raped her when she was nine years old and later she was molested by a male friend of her mother’s and by an uncle. She never told anyone about the abuse that she was suffering. Instead, she held her angry and pain inside and she rebelled. She repeatedly ran away and got into trouble.
She was sent to live with her father Vernon Winfrey in Nashville when she was thirteen. Her father helped her with discipline. He encouraged Oprah to do her best. Oprah’s father helped her turn her life around. Oprah has spoken of his requirement that she read a book each week and completes a book report on the book.
At the age of nineteen Oprah landed her first job as a reporter for a radio station in Nashville. Later she entered Tennessee State University to study radio and television broadcasting. In 1976 Oprah Winfrey moved to Baltimore where she hosted a TV show called People Are Talking. The show was a hit and Winfrey stayed for eight years. In 1986 Oprah started the Oprah Winfrey Show. Oprah has been honored with the most prestigious awards in broadcasting including the George Foster Peabody individual Achievement award in 1996 and the National Academy of Television Arts ; Sciences lifetime Achievement award in 1998. In June 1998, Time Magazine named her one of the one hundred most influential people of the 20th century.
Oprah has been in a lot of movies including The Color Purple in 1985, The Women of Brewster Place in 1990, and her latest film Beloved in 1998.
Oprah uses her movies and her show to help people. She entertains her viewers but she also tries to make them feel better about themselves and gives them the courage to live better lives.