Oprah Winfrey is an African American woman who has overcome challenges to become one of the most influential people in today’s society (Garson, 2004). She has impacted people all over the world as an entrepreneur, educator, actress, and talk show host and as a philanthropist. Oprah Winfrey is the first African American woman to have a nationally syndicated television show and the first African American to own her own production company (Gates & West, 2000). In 2003, she was named by Forbes magazine as the first African American woman billionaire (Garson, 2004).
Oprah Gail Winfrey was born on January 29, 1954 in Kosciusko, Mississippi to unwed teenage parents (Garson, 2004). She was raised by her grandmother on a farm in Mississippi until the age of six. During that time, Oprah developed a love for reading and performing in front of an audience. She often recited biblical versus in front of the church congregation (Gates & West, 2000). At the age of six, she was sent to live with her mother in Milwaukee under very poor conditions. She was allegedly sexually abused by friends of the family and relatives. As a result of her family turmoil, Oprah began acting out at the age of 13 by running away and becoming sexually active (Harris& Watson, 2007). Unable to control her behaviors, Oprah’s mother sent her to live with her father in Nashville, Tennessee. This is the move that Oprah credits for “turning her life around and saving her from becoming a delinquent (Winfrey, 1997)”.
Oprah’s turnaround began when she started excelling academically and socially after she entered high school in Nashville. She entered and won numerous pageants including Miss Fire Prevention (Gates & West, 2000). These pageants helped Oprah to gain local attention, and in
1970 at the age of seventeen, she was hired by a local radio station (WVOL) to read news. She gained a full scholarship to Tennessee State... [continues]
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