Oprah Winfrey is one of the most influential women of the world as well as one of the richest African-Americans of the 20th century.
Born on January 29, 1954 in Kosciusko, Mississippi to unmarried parents, she spent her early life on a remote farm with her grandmother. She later moved in with her Mom in a poor neighborhood of Milwaukee. After some time of bad influence and bad behavior she moved to Nashville, Tennessee to live with her father.
Oprah’s father was very influential in her educational drive. She spent her teen years under his strict guidance, doing weekly book reports and adding five new words to her vocabulary every night before dinner.
Oprah was an extremely active student. Her Nashville East High School activities included drama, debate, and she was a member of the student council. She won a full scholarship to Tennessee State University in an Elks Club speaking contest. She was invited to a White House Conference on Youth. She was also hired on with WVOL, a local Nashville radio station, to read the afternoon news reports.
Oprah studied communications at Tennessee State. She was crowned Miss Black Nashville as well as Miss Tennessee during her freshman year. In her sophomore year, at age 19, she finally accepted CBS’s third job offer. She became Nashville’s first African American female co-anchor of the evening news on WTVF-TV.
After she read news cut-ins for Good Morning, America and spent seven years on People Are Talking, Oprah was picked up by ABC. In 1984 she moved to Chicago and took over as head Anchor for A.M. Chicago. Oprah changed the format of this show and shifted its emphasis from traditional women’s issues to current controversies and debatable issues. This boosted its ratings and by 1985 the show was renamed, The Oprah Winfrey Show.
The Oprah Winfrey Show, after ranking the number one talk show for 24 consecutive seasons, is coming to an end in September of 2011, but this doesn’t mean this incredible woman is slowing down. On top of O Magazine, Oprah.com, and Oprah Radio, she’s added OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. This multi-platform media venture launched January 1, 2011 and will inform and inspire people on into the future.