Oprah Winfrey was born in a small town in Mississippi in 1954. Her father was in the service and her mother moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin in search of a new start. Oprah was left to be raised by her paternal Grandmother on a small farm. Oprah's Grandmother taught her to read before most children are ready for pre-school. Oprah's Grandmother was a strong Christian and due to her influence Oprah was very active in the church. By the time she was 3 she had traveled through the south reciting sermons and biblical verses. At the age of six, Oprah moved into her mother's home, which was a far cry from the supportive, safe environment she was used to. Oprah's childhood took a drastic turn to a life of repeated sexual abuse from which reading was her only escape. At age 14 she was impregnated by one of her abusers. The baby was born premature and died shortly after birth. Oprah's mother could not handle having a developing woman in the house so she declared her "incorrigible" and sent her to live with her father. Oprah's new home in Tennessee was a far cry from the wild, "party house" atmosphere of her mother's home. Oprah's father demanded good study habits and high moral standards. He was a strict disciplinarian and allowed Oprah to adopt a new standard of living. In High School Oprah began to refine her natural public speaking talent by participating in the production of a regular radio show. She was also encouraged to compete in pageants where she awed judges and mesmerized crowds with her public speaking talent. Oprah's father was supportive of her success. Under his guidance she landed a full scholarship to Tennessee State University. Oprah knew that she was in a unique position. In 1971 not many impoverished, abused black girls were given the opportunity to attend any university. Oprah's father had instilled in her a powerful work ethic, which complimented the high moral beliefs of her grandmother. By the time she was in her sophomore year her...
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