Chronicle of Greatness: Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Gail Winfrey (born Orpah Gail Winfrey, Jan. 29, 1954) is an American talk show host, television producer, actress, author and philantrophist. She is best known for her talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, broadcast from Chicago, which was the highest-rated television program of its kind in history and ran in national syndication for 25 years from 1986 to 2011.
She was born Orpah Gail Winfrey (not Oprah Winfrey). Oprah stuck as a result of mispronunciation of the real name – Orpah. She was born in Kocciusko, Mississippi, to an unmarried teenage mother, Vernita Lee who was a housemaid. She attended Lincoln High school in Milwaukee but was transferred to the affluent suburban Nicolet High school after early success in the Upward Bound program. She won an oratory contest, which secured her a full scholarship to Tennessee State University, a historically black institution where she studied communication.
Her first job as a teenager was working at a local grocery store. At the age of 17, Winfrey won the Black Tennessee beauty pageant. Winfrey broke new ground in 1996 by starting an on-site book club. She announced selections 2-3 weeks in advance and then discussed the book on her show with a selected group of people. She further expanded her presence in the publishing industry with the highly successful launch of O. the Oprah Magazine in 2000 and O at home in 2004; the latter folded in 2008.
Winfrey has engaged in numerous philanthropic activities, including the creation of Oprah’s Angel Network which sponsors charitable initiatives worldwide. She became an outspoken crusader against child abuse and received many honors and awards from civic, philantropic and entertainment organizations. She has a net worth of 3.5 billion USD as of 2020, making her one of the wealthiest women in the world today.
The 2 evident lessons in Winfrey Oprah’s life are: First, she did not let her background put her back to the ground. Despite coming from a poor home and being a black, she still went ahead to set the pace for even the seemingly better people in the society.
Secondly, she is diligent and hard-working. Winfrey puts in her all in whatever she does. This can be seen in one of her quotes where she said “Where there is no struggle, there is no strength”. She was a victim of abuse when she was a girl but she “turned her wounds into wisdom” and forged ahead in life.
Hope you had an enlightening and encouraging read? Enjoy the rest of the week and don’t keep on your dreams.